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Japan Reacts to Fukushima Crisis By Banning Journalism was originally published on Washington's Blog

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UK Orders WSJ To Withold Names Of Implicated LIBOR Manipulators After Story Already Hits...

In what is a staggering example of not only state meddling in the affairs of the "free press", but worse, sheer state idiocy, yesterday the WSJ posted an article on its website revealing that as many as 24 co-conspirators would be exposed shortly in the ongoing Libor manipulation scandal and divulging the names of various individuals on this list. What promptly followed was truly bizarre. As the WSJ reports shortly after posting the article, "a British judge ordered the Journal and David Enrich, the newspaper's European banking editor, to comply with a request by the U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office prohibiting the newspaper from publishing names of individuals not yet made public in the government's ongoing investigation into alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor." This happened at 7:18 pm London time, after the original WSJ article had already hit the Internet.

The WSJ added that "The order, which applies to publication in England and Wales, also demanded that the Journal remove "any existing Internet publication" divulging the details. It threatened Mr. Enrich and "any third party" with penalties including a fine, imprisonment and asset seizure."

As a result, the media organization decided to comply with this gross example state censorship, and now in the place of the article, one could find the following note:

... but not before protesting vocally.

The article said the government was preparing to name roughly two dozen traders and brokers, adding that prosecutors were still finalizing their plans and that the list could change, citing people familiar with the process. Inclusion on the list doesn't represent a formal accusation of wrongdoing and doesn't mean the individuals will be charged with crimes.

"This injunction is a serious affront to press freedom," said Dow Jones & Co., publisher of the Journal. "We have been left with no choice but to remove the previously published story from WSJ.com and to withhold publication from the print edition of The Wall Street Journal Europe. However, we will continue to vigorously fight the injunction in the coming days."

Yet it is not the censorship that is most shocking here, but the way the UK's SFO went about scrubbing the trail. Because while the European version of the newspaper may have retracted the article from today's print edition, the piece was still in the US version. Furthermore, since the original WSJ article hit the net before it was pulled, it was promptly picked up and reforwarded by either robotic or manned resyndicators of the WSJ. One such example was ValueWalk which took down the salient details that the SFO is so concerned about:

Among those who could be name are several of Hayes’ former coworkers at both Citigroup Inc and UBS AG. Michael Pieri, who was Hayes’ boss while he worked at UBS, was fired by the bank and moved to Australia. Hayes’ former assistant at UBS, Mirhat Alykulov, could also be on the list. Sources said he has been cooperating with investigators from the U.S.

Another name which could be on the SFO’s list is Christopher Cecere, who was Hayes’ boss while he worked in Citigroup’s Tokyo operations. Cecere resigned from his position at Citigroup around the same time Hayes was fired. Other people who could be on the list are ex HSBC Holdings plc trader Luke Madden, former JPMorgan Chase & Co. employee Paul Glands, and former Rabobank employee Paul Robson.

And, of course, the full list is in today's US print edition of the WSJ. Which begs the question: aside from matter of state censorship and free press intervention, what exactly did the UK hope to achieve here? After all, a cursory one minute search would reveal all the names hidden, but now the extra buzz generated by UK's attempt to quash the story, merely made it that much more interesting to all, and whereas some may have skipped it - after all who really cares about Libor manipulation anymore considering the entire market is openly manipulated by the Fed now - now everyone will focus on the names that were purposefully withheld.

Sheer statist stupidity.

The letter sent to the WSJ is below:

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RINF, The 4th Media, Countercurrents 12/2/2015, Global Research 13/2/2015, Counterpunch 27/2/2015

On Twitter this week, someone asked the question “Why do people doubt science?” Accompanying the tweet was a link to an article in National Geographic that implied people who are suspicious of vaccines, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), climate change, fluoridated water and various other phenomena are confused, adhere to conspiracy theories, are motivated by ideology or are misinformed as a result of access to the ‘University of Google.’ The remedy, according what is said in the article, is for us all to rely on scientific evidence pertaining to these issues and adopt a ‘scientific method’ of thought and analysis and put irrational thought processes to one side.

Who tweeted the question and posted the link? None other than Robert T Fraley, Monsanto’s Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

Before addressing that question, it is worth mentioning that science is not the giver of ‘absolute truth’. That in itself should allow us to develop a healthy sceptism towards the discipline. The ‘truth' is a tricky thing to pin down. Scientific knowledge is built on shaky stilts that rest on shifting foundations. Science historian Thomas Kuhn wrote about the revolutionary paradigm shifts in scientific thought, whereby established theoretical perspectives can play the role of secular theology and serve as a barrier to the advancement of knowledge, until the weight of evidence and pressure from proponents of a new theoretical paradigm is overwhelming. Then, at least according to Kuhn, the old faith gives way and a new 'truth' changes.

Philosopher Paul Feyerabend argued that science is not an 'exact science'. The manufacture of scientific knowledge involves a process driven by various sociological, methodological and epistemological conflicts and compromises, both inside the laboratory and beyond. Writers in the field of the sociology of science have written much on this.


But the answer to the question “Why do people doubt science” is not because they have read Kuhn, Feyerabend or some sociology journal. Neither is it because a bunch of ‘irrational’ activists have scared them witless about GM crops or some other issue. It is because they can see how science is used, corrupted and manipulated by powerful corporations to serve their own ends. It is because they regard these large corporations as largely unaccountable and their activities and products not properly regulated by governments.

That’s why so many doubt science - or more precisely the science corporations fund and promote to support their interests.

US sociologist Robert Merton highlighted the underlying norms of science as involving research that is not warped by vested interests, adheres to the common ownership of scientific discoveries (intellectual property) to promote collective collaboration and subjects findings to organised, rigorous critical scrutiny within the scientific community. The concept of originality was added by later writers in order to fully encapsulate the ethos of science: scientific claims must contribute something new to existing discourse. Based on this brief analysis, secrecy, dogma and vested interest have no place.

This is of course a highly idealised version of what science is or should be because in reality careers, reputations, commercial interests and funding issues all serve to undermine these norms.

But if we really want to look at the role of secrecy, dogma and vested interest in full flow, we could take a look at in the sector to which Robert T Fraley belongs.

Last year, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called for “sound science” to underpin food trade between the US and the EU. However, he seems very selective in applying “sound science” to certain issues. Consumer rights groups in the US are pushing for the labelling of GMO foods, but Vilsack said that putting a label on a foodstuff containing a GM product “risks sending a wrong impression that this was a safety issue.”

Despite what Vilsack would have us believe, many scientific studies show that GMOs are indeed a big safety issue and what’s more are also having grave environmental, social and economic consequences (for example, see this and this).

By not wanting to respond to widespread consumer demands to know what they are eating and risk “sending a wrong impression,” Vislack is trying to prevent proper debate about issues that his corporate backers would find unpalatable: profits would collapse if consumers had the choice to reject the GMOs being fed to them. And ‘corporate backers’ must not be taken as a throwaway term here. Big agritech concerns have captured or at the very least seriously compromised key policy and regulatory bodies in the US (see this), Europe (see this), India (see this) and in fact on a global level (see here regarding control of the WTO).

If Robert T Fraley wants to understand why people doubt science, he should consider what Andy Stirling, Professor of Science and Technology Policy at Sussex University, says:

“The main reason some multinationals prefer GM technologies over the many alternatives is that GM offers more lucrative ways to control intellectual property and global supply chains. To sideline open discussion of these issues, related interests are now trying to deny the many uncertainties and suppress scientific diversity. This undermines democratic debate – and science itself.” (see here)

Coming from the GMO biotech industry, or its political mouthpieces, the term “sound science” rings extremely hollow. The industry carries out inadequate, short-term studies and conceals the data produced by its research under the guise of ‘commercial confidentiality’ (see this), while independent research highlights the very serious dangers of its products [see this and this). It has in the past also engaged in fakery in India (see this), bribery in Indonesia (see this ) and smears and intimidation against those who challenge its interests [see this), as well as the distortion and the censorship of science (see this  and this).

With its aim to modify organisms to create patents that will secure ever greater control over seeds, markets and the food supply, the widely held suspicion is that the GMO agritech sector is only concerned with a certain type of science: that which supports these aims. Because if science is held in such high regard by these corporations, why isn't Monsanto proud of its products? Why in the US doesn't it label foods containing GMOs and throw open its science to public scrutiny, instead of veiling it with secrecy, restricting independent research on its products or resorting to unsavoury tactics?

If science is held in such high regard by the GMO agritech sector, why in the US did policy makers release GM food onto the commercial market without proper long-term tests? The argument used to justify this is GM food is ‘substantially equivalent’ to ordinary food. But this is not based on scientific reason. Foreign genes are being inserted into organisms that studies show make them substantially non-equivalent (see this). Substantial equivalence is a trade strategy on behalf of the GM sector that neatly serves to remove its GMOs from the type of scrutiny usually applied to potentially toxic or harmful substances. The attempt to replace processed-based regulation of GMOs in Europe with product-based regulation would result in serving a similar purpose (see this).

The reason why no labelling or testing has taken place in the US is not due to ‘sound science’ having been applied but comes down to the power and political influence of the GMO biotech sector and because a sound scientific approach has not been applied.

The sector cannot win the scientific debate (although its PR likes to tell the world it has) so it resorts to co-opting key public bodies or individuals to propagate various falsehoods and deceptions (see this). Part of the deception is based on emotional blackmail: the world needs GMOs to feed the hungry, both now and in the future. This myth has been blown apart (see thisthis and this). In fact, in the second of those three links, the organisation GRAIN highlights that GM crops that have been planted thus far have actually contributed to food insecurity.

This is a harsh truth that the industry does not like to face.

People’s faith in science is being shaken on many levels, not least because big corporations have secured access to policy makers and governments and are increasingly funding research and setting research agendas.

“As Andrew Neighbour, former administrator at Washington University in St. Louis, who managed the university’s multiyear and multimillion dollar relationship with Monsanto, admits, "There’s no question that industry money comes with strings. It limits what you can do, when you can do it, who it has to be approved by”…  This raises the question: if Agribusiness giant Monsanto [in India] is funding the research, will Indian agricultural researchers pursue such lines of scientific inquiry as “How will this new rice or wheat variety impact the Indian farmer, or health of Indian public?” The reality is, Monsanto is funding the research not for the benefit of either Indian farmer or public, but for its profit. It is paying researchers to ask questions that it is most interested in having answered.” - 'Monsanto, a Contemporary East India Company, and Corporate Knowledge in India'.  

Ultimately, it is not science itself that people have doubts about but science that is pressed into the service of immensely powerful private corporations and regulatory bodies that are effectively co-opted and adopt a ‘don’t look, don’t find approach’ to studies and products (see thisthis  and this).

Or in the case of releasing GMOs onto the commercial market in the US, bypassing proper scientific procedures and engaging in doublespeak about ‘substantial equivalence’ then hypocritically calling for 'sound science' to inform debates.

The same corporate interests are moreover undermining the peer-review process itself and the ability of certain scientists to get published in journals - the benchmark of scientific credibility. In effect, powerful interests increasingly hold sway over funding, career progression as a scientist, journals and peer review (see this and this, which question the reliability of peer review in the area of GMOs).

Going back to the start of the piece, the question that should have been tweeted is: “Why do people doubt corporate-controlled or influenced science?” After that question, it would have been more revealing to have posted a link to this article here about the unscrupulous history of a certain company from St Louis. That history provides very good reason why so many doubt and challenge powerful corporations and the type of science they fund and promote (or attempt to suppress) and the type of world they seek to create (see this).

“Corporations as the dominant institution shaped by capitalist patriarchy thrive on eco-apartheid. They thrive on the Cartesian legacy of dualism which puts nature against humans. It defines nature as female and passively subjugated. Corporatocentrism is thus also androcentric – a patriarchal construction. The false universalism of man as conqueror and owner of the Earth has led to the technological hubris of geo-engineering, genetic engineering, and nuclear energy. It has led to the ethical outrage of owning life forms through patents, water through privatization, the air through carbon trading. It is leading to appropriation of the biodiversity that serves the poor.” Vandana Shiva


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Kiev’s War on Freedom

Kiev's War on Freedom

by Stephen Lendman

Western-supported coup-appointed putschists have no legitimacy. Waging war on freedom reflects official Kiev policy.

Washington endorses it. Upcoming sham May 25 elections exclude democracy from ballot choices.

They're at the same time as Kiev aggression continues. They're attacking Eastern Ukrainians.

They're murdering them in cold blood. So-called "anti-terrorist operation(s)" reflect state terrorism writ large.

Fascist regimes operate this way. They reemerged in Europe. Coup-appointed Kiev thugs represent its epicenter.

Upcoming elections are rigged. Democracy is pure fantasy. Results are largely pre-determined. 

Washington wants illegitimacy approved. So do rogue EU partners. They endorsed fascism. They deplore freedom.

Illusion substitutes for reality. Hypocrisy for legitimacy. Duplicity for fundamental democratic rights. 

What everyone deserves. What fascist ideologues prohibit. What Ukrainians face going forward.

Kiev escalated aggressive war. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashivich said:

"We state that the Kiev authorities are still not ready and do not want to fulfill the decisions agreed upon in the Geneva Declaration of April 17 and developed into a 'road map,' which was prepared and officially distributed by the Swiss chairmanship in the OSCE."

It repudiated violence. Kiev "intensifie(d) (its) punitive operations against its own people…"

It's waging lawless aggression. It's "bombard(ing)" Eastern Ukrainian "cities and settlements." 

It's attacking civilians with "heavy weapons." It ludicrously claims Sunday's sham elections represent democracy.

For all Ukrainians. Doing it fairly. Openly. Freely. Leaving no one out.

Under the barrel of a gun. During premeditated aggression. Excluding real choice. 

Targeting freedom. Wanting it entirely destroyed.  Wanting hardline/top-down ruthlessness replacing it. 

Wanting what Ukrainians nationwide deplore. What they reject.

May 22 brought good news and bad. RT International's stringer journalist Graham Phillips was freed.

He's lucky to be alive. Things could have turned out otherwise. As long as he's in Ukraine, he's endangered. He's vulnerable.

He was lawlessly abducted. He was held captive for 36 harrowing hours. He had no idea how they'd end.

Thankfully he's free. But not safe. He's OK, he said. He was intensively interrogated.

"All my work in order," he said. "(N)o charges. (N)o deportation." 

(N)o one laid a hand on me in anger. Ukrainian authorities treated me fairly."

At the same time, it was touch and go. Things might have turned out otherwise. 

Throughout his ordeal, RT supported him. So did his colleagues and followers, he said.

"Thank you so much for all your support during this. Some moments were a little bit difficult, but I knew you guys were there supporting me and that meant the world," he said.

He did so with genuine sincerity. His reporting was special. He did so in the line of fire. He endured clear and present dangers. They remain.

He represents the best of responsible journalism. So do other RT correspondents doing the same thing. And Russian colleagues.

War zone reporting is hazardous. It risks life and limb. Possible abduction, detention, and abuse exacerbate things. 

Phillips was taking photos near Mariupol. He did it "dozens of times" before, he said. Without incident.

"I was questioning these soldiers at the checkpoint in Mariupol on what happened on that day, and I've done that a lot of times before," he explained.

"And then they saw that I work for RT, and then things escalated after that. It got more serious this time." 

"They started phoning people and then I was detained. I had my things taken off of me and interrogated quite thoroughly."

"I was with soldiers at this point at a block post and then the SBU came. This is the Ukrainian Secret Services (SBU)."

Two locals working with him were released. Not him. Around 9PM Monday, he was taken away.

It was after spending around nine hours at a military checkpoint. He was transferred to Zaporozhye at "gun point."

He was sent to military barracks. "An SBU man made it quite clear that I was under detention," he said.

Kiev authorities accused him of spying. Working for RT is a "black spot," they said. He was viewed with "particular wariness," he explained.

He understands Russian. He speaks it. Questions asked included: 

"You are working for Russian TV?"

"What is your purpose?

"Are you a spy?"

At the same time, his interrogators were "all right," he said. "I mean they fed me."

"They looked after me, but I was held at gunpoint, and that was quite dramatic," he stressed.

Early Wednesday, interrogation ended. He was taken to Britain's Kiev embassy.

At the same time, its defense ministry press service said he was detained for "filming facilities which are forbidden from being filmed."

Phony charges claim anything. Phillips was lucky. Things could have gotten serious. 

He could have been detained longterm. He could have been tortured. 

He could have faced kangaroo court proceedings. He could have been imprisoned. He could have been killed.

Russian LifeNews journalists Oleg Sidyakin and Marat Saichenko remain detained. They're held incommunicado.

False charges claim they transported weapons. Others said they aided and abetted terrorists. They're "members of terrorist groups." 

They're journalists. They're not terrorists. They aided no one. They're not combatants. They were doing their job.

Challenging captors under duress isn't easy. Or refuting their lies.

On May 22, coup-appointed Kiev national security/defense council head Andriy Parubiy said investigating Sidyakin and Saichenkro continues.

It's up to "investigator(s) to decide whether to hand them over to the Russian side."

Putin denounced their detention. "It's absolutely unacceptable, and, of course, the question arises over the legitimacy of all political procedures in Ukraine," he said.

He called accusing them of carrying portable air defense system weapons "nonsense."

Russia's lower house State Duma passed a statement. It demanded Kiev release both journalists straightaway.

Russia's upper house Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matvienko said:

"We will succeed in freeing our two journalists and guarantee the freedom of their activities in Ukraine, including during large upcoming internal political events in Ukraine - the presidential election."

Russia's Foreign Ministry expressed outrage over Kiev denying OSCE representatives permission to visit both journalists. A separate statement said:

"This kind of lawlessness directed against Russian journalists, which has become a regular practice, confirms once again that the Ukrainian side is ignoring basic norms of democracy, in particular, freedom of speech."

Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused Ukraine's military and security services of "dangerously interfering with press freedom."

It called for immediately releasing Russian journalists. Deputy Europe and Central Asia director Rachel Denber said:

"We're deeply worried about the fate and whereabout of (captive) journalists. Detaining (them) and then failing to provide information on what's happening to them or to respect their due process rights are serious violations that have to end."

"Failure to provide information on the whereabouts and fate of anyone deprived of their liberty by agents of the state, or those acting with its acquiescence, may constitute an enforced disappearance." she added.

Acting extrajudicially reflects police state ruthlessness. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki endorses the worst of its dark side.

She supports Kiev lies about Saichenko and Sidyakin supporting terrorism. She claims legitimate journalists doing their job responsibly aren't what they say they are.

She accepted Kiev Big Lies as facts. She did so at face value. She dodged questions about their veracity.

A next day follow-up statement softened too little to matter. She called on Ukrainian authorities to investigate what happened. 

She claimed no further updates on what's ongoing. She said nothing about refuting irresponsible charges. Effectively she endorsed them.

Separately, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich accused OSCE's monitoring mission of suppressing vital information.

Inconvenient truths are buried, he said. Outright censorship, he claimed.

Facts are twisted to fit coup-appointed Kiev putschists' policies.

"We believe that the mission should work with citizens' direct appeals, especially considering that the tasks of interacting with civil society and monitoring human rights violations are directly sealed in the mission's mandate," Lukashevich said.

Ukrainian crisis conditions remain far from resolved. Ongoing conflict continues. It rages out-of-control.

It violates core rule of law principles. It enjoys full Western support. It bears repeating.

It targets Ukrainian freedom. It wants it destroyed altogether. It wants hardline fascist rule replacing it.

It's up for grabs how things will end. Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters are going all-out for fundamental rights everyone deserves.

Their struggle is ours. They deserve universal support.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Condi Rice, Christine Lagarde: Cowardice at Commencement

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Odessa Massacre: Eyewitness Account

Odessa Massacre: Eyewitness Account 

by Stephen Lendman

Fascists wage wars their way. Dirty ones rage. America fights this way. 

It's done so throughout its existence. No-holds-barred barbarism reflects official policy.

Washington manipulates criminal events in Ukraine. Coup-appointed putschists are convenient stooges. They're murdering their own people. They're doing it in cold blood.

Donetsk People's Republic leaders said Mariupol self-defense forces were attacked with chemical weapons. A statement issued said:

"Kiev bears the entire responsibility not only for their state agencies' actions, but also for the actions by citizens who illegally apply means of chemical warfare."

"Armed groups controlled by Kiev used unidentified chemical weapons on May 6 while storming the City Council headquarters."

"The defenders of the City Council have left the contaminated area." 

"Many of them had their breathing systems damaged, which is likely to have consequences and probably be a danger to their lives."

A toxic choking agent was used. One victim was diagnosed with unidentified gas poisoning.

Others were affected. Symptoms include first-degree chemical-inflicted eye burns, alcoholic-like intoxication, bodily lacerations and fainting. Victims were hospitalized. 

At the same time, Kiev forces attacked Mariupol. They did so with tanks and other heavy weapons.

Federalization supporters screamed "Fascists." Armored vehicles fired on unarmed civilians. Reports suggest around 20 deaths. Many more were wounded.

The 0629.ua news service reported "a tank seized at the crossroads of Lenina and Torgovaya streets by the representatives of the Donetsk People's Republic."

"At 12.50, 14 tanks were spotted coming from the agricultural base towards Mariupol. According to medics, there are two dead and 8 wounded," the report added.

"(O)n Lenin avenue, two people were seriously wounded - one in the head and another in the stomach." 

"A huge pool of blood (was) next to the Arbat cafe. It's not known whether the wounded people have survived." 

"Witnesses sa(id) they were driven away in a passenger car. The fighting (went) on next to the main police department."

"Gunfire (was) heard. Two armored vehicles blocked Artyom street." Residents barricaded streets. They burned tires. They overturned cars.

They stormed Mariupol's Interior Ministry building. According to a self-defense force representative: 

"Camouflaged people...storm(ed) the building of the city’s interior ministry department. A bus with soldiers dr(ove) up."

"They (came) from a military unit located in the vicinity of Mariupol. Policemen who refuse to obey Kiev regime's orders (were) detained."

"Policemen of the city department refused to obey Kiev's orders and guard the building of the city council, which had been seized a day earlier by the Ukrainian security services." 

"As a result, Kiev authorities decided to storm the building of the city Interior Ministry department. Policemen are shooting back."

"The building (was) surrounded." Self-defense forces said "(a)rmored vehicles approached (it) and opened fire with heavy weapons."

"The building is old and has thick walls, so you can't penetrate it with machine-gun fire." A city resident added:

"On the central street of the city, I saw tanks and armored vehicles with the Ukrainian flags at around 11.40 am (local time)." 

"Then, the city residents started to gather near the city executive committee building." 

"Then some of the protesters tried to go to the district department of interior, but it seemed that the Kiev regime military was beginning to shoot at those who attempted to approach." 

"I don't know if they were shooting to kill, but at their legs - that's for sure."

A separate report said the Interior Ministry was set ablaze.

RT International reported what happened. Its stringer was wounded. He's identified only as Andrey for his safety.

It happened while filming. He sustained a stomach injury. His bulletproof vest didn't help. He's hospitalized in serious condition. Reports suggest he'll survive.

On Friday, gun battles raged. Ukrainian MP Oleg Lyashko said:

"The perimeter around the Interior Ministry department building in Mariupol is completely blocked by the armed forces." 

"Terrorists are barricaded inside and are now returning fire. An order has been issued not to take anyone alive."

Fascists fight this way. Friday was Victory Day. It commemorated Nazi Germany's defeat. Russia honored heroes of its Great Patriotic War.

Ukrainians did so nationwide. Many thousands were on city streets. Imagine waging war this day. Imagine attacking civilians. 

Imagine targeting unarmed ones. Imagine doing so with thousands in harm's way. 

Imagine US media scoundrels ignoring what happened. Imagine European ones misreporting it. 

Imagine them calling freedom fighters "terrorists." Imagine them ignoring civilian casualties.

Imagine fascists fighting this way. Imagine Washington supporting their worst brutality. Imagine direct orders to commit mass murder. One fascist regime supports another.

About 1,500 Mariupol residents participating in Victory Day commemoration marched on police headquarters.

They did so resisting Ukraine's military. According to a self-defense forces spokesman:

"Demonstrators - about 1,500 in all - rushed to the police department building." 

"Men wearing black camouflage walk(ed) towards them, firing shots in the air."

Other residents burned tires near City Council headquarters. Mariupol is one of many Eastern Ukrainian battlegrounds.

Kharkov is Ukraine's second largest city. On Friday, an anti-government rally was held. Around 1,500 residents participated.

One held a sign reading: "Referendum. We're not separatist!" Residents oppose Kiev's "junta." They called coup-appointed officials "US henchemen."

Putschists are waging "war against (their) own people," they said. Thousands of Donetsk residents rallied. They chanted greetings to Great Patriotic War veterans.

"Congratulations!" "Hurrah!" and "Russia!," they shouted. Self-defense forces leader Denis Pushilin thanked veterans for defeating fascism.

He urged people to vote in Sunday's referendum, saying:

"We must confirm our choice on May 11, confirm our holy duty to continue to carry the banner of Victory." 

"We are Russians. The great Russian heritage is awakening in us, and we will win a victory whatever the cost."

Police were supportive. They wore St. George's ribbons. City residents applauded them.

Thousands in Slavyansk rallied. They celebrated Victory Day. They did so despite Kiev-imposed martial law.

Recently released People's Governor Pavel Gubarev urged residents throughout Southeast Ukraine "to join the people's militia under the command of Igor Strelkov."

Slavyansk People's Mayor Vyacheslav Ponomarev called on them to fight fascism. Vote in Sunday's referendum, he stressed.

Odessans displayed a red banner over the Trade Union House building. They did so honoring hundreds Right Sector thugs killed on May 2. Most were inside.

Crowds assembled in Taras Shevchenko Park. They did so to honor Soviet soldiers killed in the Great Patriotic War.

Others gathered in Kulikovo Field. Right Sector thugs burned activist tents on May 2. Doing so was prelude to murdering 300 unarmed civilians inside and outside the Trade Union House building.

Odessan mayoral candidate Aleksey Albu said:

"We have plans to put up a new tent camp after May 9. This time, there will be many more people there."

Odessa and other Eastern Ukrainian cities remain battlegrounds. Expect no end of fighting soon. Perhaps bloodbath conditions before things end.

Orders come straight from Washington. Eliminate opposition elements. Do it at all costs. 

Unleash violence without mercy. Use tanks, artillery, mortars, APCs, helicopter gunships, and other heavy weapons against civilians.

Murder them in cold blood. Lie. Claim they're terrorists. Say you're protecting Ukraine. 

Good journalism is the first casualty of war. It's a "weapon of war," said John Pilger. 

Censorship is longstanding policy. Truth-telling is verboten. Media scoundrels suppress what people most need to know.

Managed news misinformation substitutes. Reporting on Ukraine has been appalling and then some. It matches the worst against Saddam, Gaddafi and Assad.

Bad fiction substitutes for hard truths. It persists daily. Presstitutes make street whores look good by comparison. Marching in lockstep with US policy alone matters.

Expect lots more of the same ahead. Ukrainian crisis conditions promise to get worse. Perhaps much worse before things end.

Perhaps Obama bit off more than he can chew. Ukraine isn't the walkover he planned. He's his own worst enemy.

He may have shot himself in the foot. Putin makes him look amateurish by comparison. 

He outsmarted him since crisis erupted last November.  At times he made him look foolish. 

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland mocks the office she holds. 

She was caught on tape using obscene language. She admitted Washington spent over $5 billion dollars toppling Ukraine's democratically elected government.

On Thursday, House Foreign Affairs Committee members challenged her with tough questions on Ukraine.

Dana Rohrabacher (R. CA) said Ukrainians had a "legitimate election before, and the legitimate president was removed after we had major street violence." 

"There were pictures of people running around that we were told were neo-Nazis."

Nuland was hard-pressed to answer. Rohrabacher wanted straight talk. She failed to deliver. She lied saying:

"First of all, the vast majority of those who were participating on Maidan were peaceful protesters. There were mothers and grandmothers and veterans."

Rohrabacker interrupted her. He didn't mince words stressing:

"I saw those pictures, and I also saw a lot of people throwing fire bombs at groups of policemen." 

"There were people shooting into the ranks of police. So, yes, there were mothers with flowers, but there were also very dangerous street fighters engaged in those demonstrations." 

"The question is: were there neo-Nazi groups involved?"

Nuland was nonplussed. She couldn't deny credible video evidence. "There were many colors of Ukraine involved including very ugly colors," she said.

She stopped well short of truth, the whole truth, and nothing else. US-supported neo-Nazis bore full responsibility for Maidan violence. Likeminded extremists shared it.

Clear evidence proved it. Coverup and denial suppressed it. Ousted President Viktor Yanukovych had no involvement. Nor members of his government. 

Nuland didn't explain. She's a war criminal. She's guilty of high crimes. Her policy positions indict her. 

She belongs in prison doing hard time. So does Washington's entire criminal class. They mock legitimate governance. 

They shame positions they hold. Washington makes more enemies than friends. They're heading America for tyranny and ruin.

It's too late for mere scattered reforms. Hubris, arrogance and overreach assure ending imperial rampaging sooner or later.

America is plagued by the same dynamic that doomed past empires. It's spending itself to death. It's bullying nations into supporting what harms their own interests. 

It's threatening outliers that don't. It's increasingly having to work harder to accomplish less. It's falling short or failing more often. It's the world's top pariah state. 

It bears repeating. It's heading for tyranny, bankruptcy and ruin. Misguided policies wreck all empires. Washington is no exception. 

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. When America goes, the crash will resonate worldwide. It can't happen a moment too soon.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Kiev Uses Chemical Weapons

Kiev Uses Chemical Weapons 

by Stephen Lendman

Fascists wage wars their way. Dirty ones rage. America fights this way. 

It's done so throughout its existence. No-holds-barred barbarism reflects official policy.

Washington manipulates criminal events in Ukraine. Coup-appointed putschists are convenient stooges. They're murdering their own people. They're doing it in cold blood.

Donetsk People's Republic leaders said Mariupol self-defense forces were attacked with chemical weapons. A statement issued said:

"Kiev bears the entire responsibility not only for their state agencies' actions, but also for the actions by citizens who illegally apply means of chemical warfare."

"Armed groups controlled by Kiev used unidentified chemical weapons on May 6 while storming the City Council headquarters."

"The defenders of the City Council have left the contaminated area." 

"Many of them had their breathing systems damaged, which is likely to have consequences and probably be a danger to their lives."

A toxic choking agent was used. One victim was diagnosed with unidentified gas poisoning.

Others were affected. Symptoms include first-degree chemical-inflicted eye burns, alcoholic-like intoxication, bodily lacerations and fainting. Victims were hospitalized. 

At the same time, Kiev forces attacked Mariupol. They did so with tanks and other heavy weapons.

Federalization supporters screamed "Fascists." Armored vehicles fired on unarmed civilians. Reports suggest around 20 deaths. Many more were wounded.

The 0629.ua news service reported "a tank seized at the crossroads of Lenina and Torgovaya streets by the representatives of the Donetsk People's Republic."

"At 12.50, 14 tanks were spotted coming from the agricultural base towards Mariupol. According to medics, there are two dead and 8 wounded," the report added.

"(O)n Lenin avenue, two people were seriously wounded - one in the head and another in the stomach." 

"A huge pool of blood (was) next to the Arbat cafe. It's not known whether the wounded people have survived." 

"Witnesses sa(id) they were driven away in a passenger car. The fighting (went) on next to the main police department."

"Gunfire (was) heard. Two armored vehicles blocked Artyom street." Residents barricaded streets. They burned tires. They overturned cars.

They stormed Mariupol's Interior Ministry building. According to a self-defense force representative: 

"Camouflaged people...storm(ed) the building of the city’s interior ministry department. A bus with soldiers dr(ove) up."

"They (came) from a military unit located in the vicinity of Mariupol. Policemen who refuse to obey Kiev regime's orders (were) detained."

"Policemen of the city department refused to obey Kiev's orders and guard the building of the city council, which had been seized a day earlier by the Ukrainian security services." 

"As a result, Kiev authorities decided to storm the building of the city Interior Ministry department. Policemen are shooting back."

"The building (was) surrounded." Self-defense forces said "(a)rmored vehicles approached (it) and opened fire with heavy weapons."

"The building is old and has thick walls, so you can't penetrate it with machine-gun fire." A city resident added:

"On the central street of the city, I saw tanks and armored vehicles with the Ukrainian flags at around 11.40 am (local time)." 

"Then, the city residents started to gather near the city executive committee building." 

"Then some of the protesters tried to go to the district department of interior, but it seemed that the Kiev regime military was beginning to shoot at those who attempted to approach." 

"I don't know if they were shooting to kill, but at their legs - that's for sure."

A separate report said the Interior Ministry was set ablaze.

RT International reported what happened. Its stringer was wounded. He's identified only as Andrey for his safety.

It happened while filming. He sustained a stomach injury. His bulletproof vest didn't help. He's hospitalized in serious condition. Reports suggest he'll survive.

On Friday, gun battles raged. Ukrainian MP Oleg Lyashko said:

"The perimeter around the Interior Ministry department building in Mariupol is completely blocked by the armed forces." 

"Terrorists are barricaded inside and are now returning fire. An order has been issued not to take anyone alive."

Fascists fight this way. Friday was Victory Day. It commemorated Nazi Germany's defeat. Russia honored heroes of its Great Patriotic War.

Ukrainians did so nationwide. Many thousands were on city streets. Imagine waging war this day. Imagine attacking civilians. 

Imagine targeting unarmed ones. Imagine doing so with thousands in harm's way. 

Imagine US media scoundrels ignoring what happened. Imagine European ones misreporting it. 

Imagine them calling freedom fighters "terrorists." Imagine them ignoring civilian casualties.

Imagine fascists fighting this way. Imagine Washington supporting their worst brutality. Imagine direct orders to commit mass murder. One fascist regime supports another.

About 1,500 Mariupol residents participating in Victory Day commemoration marched on police headquarters.

They did so resisting Ukraine's military. According to a self-defense forces spokesman:

"Demonstrators - about 1,500 in all - rushed to the police department building." 

"Men wearing black camouflage walk(ed) towards them, firing shots in the air."

Other residents burned tires near City Council headquarters. Mariupol is one of many Eastern Ukrainian battlegrounds.

Kharkov is Ukraine's second largest city. On Friday, an anti-government rally was held. Around 1,500 residents participated.

One held a sign reading: "Referendum. We're not separatist!" Residents oppose Kiev's "junta." They called coup-appointed officials "US henchemen."

Putschists are waging "war against (their) own people," they said. Thousands of Donetsk residents rallied. They chanted greetings to Great Patriotic War veterans.

"Congratulations!" "Hurrah!" and "Russia!," they shouted. Self-defense forces leader Denis Pushilin thanked veterans for defeating fascism.

He urged people to vote in Sunday's referendum, saying:

"We must confirm our choice on May 11, confirm our holy duty to continue to carry the banner of Victory." 

"We are Russians. The great Russian heritage is awakening in us, and we will win a victory whatever the cost."

Police were supportive. They wore St. George's ribbons. City residents applauded them.

Thousands in Slavyansk rallied. They celebrated Victory Day. They did so despite Kiev-imposed martial law.

Recently released People's Governor Pavel Gubarev urged residents throughout Southeast Ukraine "to join the people's militia under the command of Igor Strelkov."

Slavyansk People's Mayor Vyacheslav Ponomarev called on them to fight fascism. Vote in Sunday's referendum, he stressed.

Odessans displayed a red banner over the Trade Union House building. They did so honoring hundreds Right Sector thugs killed on May 2. Most were inside.

Crowds assembled in Taras Shevchenko Park. They did so to honor Soviet soldiers killed in the Great Patriotic War.

Others gathered in Kulikovo Field. Right Sector thugs burned activist tents on May 2. Doing so was prelude to murdering 300 unarmed civilians inside and outside the Trade Union House building.

Odessan mayoral candidate Aleksey Albu said:

"We have plans to put up a new tent camp after May 9. This time, there will be many more people there."

Odessa and other Eastern Ukrainian cities remain battlegrounds. Expect no end of fighting soon. Perhaps bloodbath conditions before things end.

Orders come straight from Washington. Eliminate opposition elements. Do it at all costs. 

Unleash violence without mercy. Use tanks, artillery, mortars, APCs, helicopter gunships, and other heavy weapons against civilians.

Murder them in cold blood. Lie. Claim they're terrorists. Say you're protecting Ukraine. 

Good journalism is the first casualty of war. It's a "weapon of war," said John Pilger. 

Censorship is longstanding policy. Truth-telling is verboten. Media scoundrels suppress what people most need to know.

Managed news misinformation substitutes. Reporting on Ukraine has been appalling and then some. It matches the worst against Saddam, Gaddafi and Assad.

Bad fiction substitutes for hard truths. It persists daily. Presstitutes make street whores look good by comparison. Marching in lockstep with US policy alone matters.

Expect lots more of the same ahead. Ukrainian crisis conditions promise to get worse. Perhaps much worse before things end.

Perhaps Obama bit off more than he can chew. Ukraine isn't the walkover he planned. He's his own worst enemy.

He may have shot himself in the foot. Putin makes him look amateurish by comparison. 

He outsmarted him since crisis erupted last November.  At times he made him look foolish. 

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland mocks the office she holds. 

She was caught on tape using obscene language. She admitted Washington spent over $5 billion dollars toppling Ukraine's democratically elected government.

On Thursday, House Foreign Affairs Committee members challenged her with tough questions on Ukraine.

Dana Rohrabacher (R. CA) said Ukrainians had a "legitimate election before, and the legitimate president was removed after we had major street violence." 

"There were pictures of people running around that we were told were neo-Nazis."

Nuland was hard-pressed to answer. Rohrabacher wanted straight talk. She failed to deliver. She lied saying:

"First of all, the vast majority of those who were participating on Maidan were peaceful protesters. There were mothers and grandmothers and veterans."

Rohrabacker interrupted her. He didn't mince words stressing:

"I saw those pictures, and I also saw a lot of people throwing fire bombs at groups of policemen." 

"There were people shooting into the ranks of police. So, yes, there were mothers with flowers, but there were also very dangerous street fighters engaged in those demonstrations." 

"The question is: were there neo-Nazi groups involved?"

Nuland was nonplussed. She couldn't deny credible video evidence. "There were many colors of Ukraine involved including very ugly colors," she said.

She stopped well short of truth, the whole truth, and nothing else. US-supported neo-Nazis bore full responsibility for Maidan violence. Likeminded extremists shared it.

Clear evidence proved it. Coverup and denial suppressed it. Ousted President Viktor Yanukovych had no involvement. Nor members of his government. 

Nuland didn't explain. She's a war criminal. She's guilty of high crimes. Her policy positions indict her. 

She belongs in prison doing hard time. So does Washington's entire criminal class. They mock legitimate governance. 

They shame positions they hold. Washington makes more enemies than friends. They're heading America for tyranny and ruin.

It's too late for mere scattered reforms. Hubris, arrogance and overreach assure ending imperial rampaging sooner or later.

America is plagued by the same dynamic that doomed past empires. It's spending itself to death. It's bullying nations into supporting what harms their own interests. 

It's threatening outliers that don't. It's increasingly having to work harder to accomplish less. It's falling short or failing more often. It's the world's top pariah state. 

It bears repeating. It's heading for tyranny, bankruptcy and ruin. Misguided policies wreck all empires. Washington is no exception. 

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. When America goes, the crash will resonate worldwide. It can't happen a moment too soon.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

State Department Big Lies

State Department Big Lies

by Stephen Lendman

John Kerry repeats them ad nauseam. They come in country reports. They're in press releases. They're in daily briefings.

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. It reminds governments of their obligation to support it. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

On May 2, a State Department Fact Sheet addressed world press freedom. It did so disingenuously. Washington goes all-out to suppress it. 

Not according to State Department misinformation, saying:

"On World Press Freedom Day, the United States pays special honor to the importance of media freedom - a crucial element of freedom of expression - at home and abroad." 

"A diverse and independent press is crucial to holding governments accountable and promoting democracy around the world."

Washington deplores press freedom. It does so at home and abroad. It wants its message alone disseminated. It wants dissenting views buried.

The State Department lied claiming "(t)he US Government…brought media freedom issues to the fore at the UN and in regional multilateral forums."

Truth is the best disinfectant. Revealing it exposes America's dark side. It's evident in Ukraine.

On Friday, deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf addressed ongoing events.

Fantasy substituted for reality. She was asked about Kiev arresting hundreds of journalists.

"More than 500 have been harassed, beaten, abducted, and (one) killed," she said.

She pointed fingers the wrong way. She blamed ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. She turned truth on its head doing so.

Kiev putschists banned Russian TV channels. They shut down independent Ukrainian ones.

The OSCE's media watchdog criticized its actions. It voiced strong concerns. Its media freedom representative Dunja Mijatovic said:

"Banning programming without a legal basis is a form of censorship. National security concerns should not be used at the expense of media freedom."

"While I deplore any kind of state propaganda and hate speech as part of the current information war, everyone has the right to receive information from as many sources as he or she wishes."

"Switching off and banning channels is not the way to address these problems. Any potentially problematic speech should be countered with arguments and more speech."

At least 5 Russian channels were blocked. They include Vesti, Russia 24, Channel One (worldwide), RTR 'Planeta.' and NTV-World.

Over half of Ukrainians speak Russian. Around one-third call it their native language.

According to Crimea's Information Minister Dmitry Polonsky:

"From the moral point of view, all Ukrainian TV channels were rigidly censored by Kiev's illegitimate authorities."

They did so "(i)n violation of fundamental principles. They broadcast only one point of view."

They harass, beat, and terrorize independent journalists. Ukrainian media freedom is fantasy. 

Challenging Kiev putschists risks brutalizing, arrests and death. Police states operate this way. Harf pretended otherwise.

Putin "has a choice to make now," she said.

"He can de-escalate the situation, pull back from the brink, or if he chooses to continue moving forward, we will impose additional costs, including sectoral sanctions that will make very clear to the Russian people that President Putin is more concerned with chest - beating in the region than actually giving his people the economic opportunities they deserve."

"We’ll keep imposing additional costs, and Russia will become increasingly isolated, their people will become isolated, their economy will become isolated." 

"All the work they did in terms of the WTO, the G8, which is now the G7, all of that will go down the drain and they will become increasingly isolated, which will really, really, severely hurt their economy."

"And it's up to President Putin whether he wants those costs."

She ignored his geopolitical leadership. She turned a blind eye to his forthrightness. He prioritizes diplomatic conflict resolution. 

Obama supports violence against Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters. So does Kerry. Harf didn't explain. Lies substituted for truth.

On April 28, an Office of the White House Press Secretary statement on Ukraine said in part:

"The United States has taken further action today in response to Russia's continued illegal intervention in Ukraine and provocative acts that undermine Ukraine's democracy and threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity."  

"At the contact group meeting in Geneva on April 17, 2014, Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the European Union decided on a number of steps to deescalate the situation in eastern Ukraine, including refraining from further violence or provocative acts."   

"Since April 17, Russia has done nothing to meet its Geneva commitments and in fact has further escalated the crisis."  

"Russia's involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine is indisputable."

Fact: Washington bears full responsibility for "threaten(ing) (Ukraine's) peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity."

Fact: Putin forthrightly supports it.

Fact: He's gone all-out to resolve things diplomatically.

Fact: Washington systematically subverts his best efforts.

Fact: America's "involvement in the recent violence in eastern Ukraine is indisputable."

Fact: Blaming Russia doesn't wash. Repetition doesn't transform Big Lies into Truths.

"The international community has been unified in its position that Russia must cease its illegal intervention and provocative actions in Ukraine," the statement continued.  

"The United States, working closely with its partners, remains prepared to impose still greater costs on Russia if the Russian leadership continues these provocations instead of de-escalating the situation, consistent with its Geneva commitments."

Fact: Sanctions have no legitimacy.

Fact: They have no legal standing.

Fact: It bears repeating. Washington bears full responsibility for Ukrainian crisis conditions.

Fact: Russia continues going all-out to resolve them forthrightly.

Don't expect State Department officials to explain. Or spokespersons paid to lie. 

Expect Big Lies to substitute. It's longstanding US policy. It's the American way.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Russia Bashing Escalates

Russia Bashing Escalates

by Stephen Lendman

It bears repeating what previous articles stressed. Washington bears full responsibility for Ukrainian crisis conditions.

Russia alone goes all-out to resolve them responsibly. It doesn't matter. Propaganda wars rage. 

Brazen lies repeat. Lawless sanctions were imposed. New ones followed. On Sunday, Obama's deputy national security advisor Tony Blinkin said:

"We're going to save a little news for Monday but what I can tell you is this. We will be looking to designate people who are in (Putin's) inner circle, who have a significant impact on the Russian economy." 

"Starting this week, in co-ordination with our allies and partners, we'll be exerting additional pressure on people closest to Putin, the companies they control, the defense industry, all of this."

"We'll be looking to designate companies that they and other inner circle people control. We'll be looking at taking steps, as well, with regard to high-technology exports to their defense industry."

"All of this together is going to have an impact."

Obama lied claiming "strong evidence that (Moscow) encourag(ed) the activities in Eastern and Southern Ukraine."

"The goal here is not to go after Mr. Putin personally. The goal is to change his calculus with respect to how the current actions that he's engaging in could have an adverse impact on the Russian economy over the long haul."

"We're going to be in a stronger position to deter Putin when he sees that the world is unified and the United States and Europe is unified rather than this is just a US-Russian conflict."

World unity doesn't exist. Washington bullies other nations to acquiesce. EU ones harm their own self-interest complying.

Days earlier, coup-appointed putschist prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk lied claiming Russia wants to "start world war three." He said it's doing it by occupying Ukraine "militarily and politically." 

"Attempts at military conflict in Ukraine will lead to military conflict in Europe," he added.

"It is clear that Russia's goal is to wreck the election in Ukraine, remove the pro-Western and pro-Ukrainian government and occupy Ukraine politically and militarily," he claimed.

"Russia's support for terrorists and bandits who torture peaceful citizens is an international crime." 

"If the United States, the European Union and the entire international community continues to be united and act together to compel Russia to fulfill its obligations, then we will maintain the peace, stability and international security system that Russia wants to destroy."

Fact: Sanctioning Russia has no legitimacy. Doing so is political. No legal authority exists.

Fact: Washington wants challengers to its global dominance eliminated. It wants pro-Western puppet regimes replacing them.

Fact: It bears repeating. Washington threatens, pressures and bullies other nations into compliance. Hegemons operate this way. 

Washington exceeds the worst of previous ones. It threatens humanity's survival.

Fact: Russia goes all-out to resolve Ukrainian crisis conditions responsibly. Washington bears full responsibility for escalating things.

Fact: Washington orchestrated democratically elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's ouster.

Fact: It elevated xenophobic, ultranationalist, anti-Semitic, hate-mongering fascist extremists to power. They have no legitimacy whatever. They represent mob rule.

Fact: Yatsenyuk is a convenient US stooge. Blaming Russia for Kiev crimes doesn't wash.

Fact: Washington is humanity's greatest threat. Lunatics influence policy. Ukraine is ground zero. Challenging Russia risks possible WW III. Great conflicts start this way.

Freedom House calls itself "an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world." 

It deplores what it claims to support. It gets State Department and other US agency funding. It serves Washington's dark side. It furthers its imperial agenda.

David Kramer is executive director. He's hardcore neocon. He's a former Project for the New American Century (PNAC) senior fellow. He held various Bush administration positions.

He's a Russian specialist. He's an Obama task force member. It recommends Russian officials, business leaders and corporations to target.

"While imposing sanctions together with the EU would be nice, the US simply has to lead and not waste more time trying to present a united approach," he said.

"It's easier for us to do so than it is for the Europeans, and they will follow, as long as we lead."

China rejects US/EU sanctions. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Beijing "consistently opposed threatening or imposing sanctions."

"We believe that sanctions are not conducive to an issue's resolution, and may worsen tensions."

"We call on all sides to keep using dialogue and negotiation to appropriately resolve disagreements, to push for a political resolution to the Ukraine crisis. Sanctions are not in any party's interests."

Aleksey Pushkov heads Russia's lower house State Duma foreign affairs committee. He's a Moscow State Institute of International Relations professor.

"For the United States, Russia is an enemy and China is a potential enemy. But the confrontation course with both major powers is a strategic mistake," he said.

Obama's policy shows "the depth of his despair over (Moscow's) growing international" influence.

Separately, peaceful Kharkov weekend rallies became violent. Right Sector thugs attacked anti-Kiev protesters.

Over a dozen people were injured. So were two police officers. Local TV channels aired masked thugs beating activists.

They used bats and sticks. Cars were vandalized. Beatings were random. Anti-Kiev activists plan a massive May 1 demonstration.

They demand local autonomy. They chanted "No to bloody Kiev junta!"

At 11:30AM local time Monday, Kharkov Mayor Gennady Kerness was shot in the back while jogging.

He's seriously wounded. He may not survive. Interfax reported police investigators "working at the scene. The fact of the event has been entered in the single register of pre-trial investigations," it said.

"(E)fforts are under way to investigate all circumstances of this incident."

At the same time, police detained 15 local residents. They had masks, sticks and Molotov cocktails.

Slavyansk self-defense forces seized six Right Sector gunmen. They're being questioned.

Other self-defense forces were attacked en route to Kramatorsk's airport. Their spokesman said:

"We have obtained information that armed foreigners, mainly from the NATO countries, will be landing at the Kramatorsk airport, and sent our mobile group to check this information." 

"We came under fire and had to retreat. However, none of our fighters were injured."

Journal Dmitry Timchuk coordinates anti-Kiev information resistance.

"The night went calmly," he said. "The only exception was the shots fired in the direction of our troops in the area of the Kramatorsk aerodrome." 

"In the morning, law enforcement agencies came under fire here again."

On Sunday, pro-Russian activists seized a Donetsk TV station. They want blocked Russian channels reinstated. Technical work is underway to do it.

They plan Donetsk People's Republic television. They want Russian programming aired. 

Channel 27 was removed. Russia 24 replaced it. According to station CEO Oleg Dzholos:

"There were many demands. First - switch off Ukrainian channels. I explained that we are Donetsk state TV and radio station and from our central control room, there is only our signal." 

"There were experts and they understood me. The following demand was - not a demand, an ultimatum - to switch on, if I am not mistaken, Russia-24 TV channel."

Protesters brought satellite antennas and other equipment. Guards protected them.

In March, putschists blocked at least five Russian channels. They included Vesti, Russia-24, Channel One international broadcasts, RTR 'Pleneta,' and NTV World.

At the time an OSCE statement called doing so "repressive." It's "censorship," it added. 

The battle for Ukraine's soul just began. It continues. It threatens to escalate out-of-control. At risk is potential East/West confrontation. All bets are off if it happens.

A Final Comment

Russia bashing propaganda remains intense. Anti-Russian Professor Keith Darden got feature New York Times op-ed space. 

He headlined "The War on Truth in Ukraine." He lied claiming "Russian television made Slovyansk look like Guernica."

He cited Washington blaming Russia for crisis conditions beyond "a shadow of a doubt." He ignored clear evidence implicating putschists in Maidan killings.

He nonsensically called it "hard to pinpoint when (things) began." He equivocated on calling what happened a coup. He suggested sham May elections will be legitimate.

He said Russia may intervene "at the point of its own guns." He omitted what readers most need to know. 

Washington installed putschists run things. They militant fascist thugs. They have no legitimacy whatever. Darden didn't explain.

Neocon Washington Post editors headlined "In Mr. Putin's Russia, the lights of liberty are flickering," saying:

"As Mr. Putin works to undermine Ukraine, he also is smothering what remains of the independent Internet-based news media and social media amid signs that discredited old Soviet tactics such as travel restrictions are coming back."

"The spark of free expression" is fading, they claimed. They praised Boris Yeltzin. He "g(ave) rise to a society freer than any in Russian history." 

They ignored his dark side. He instituted Western-style shock therapy. He bled Russia dry. 

He handed its wealth to kleptocratic oligarchs. He committed economic genocide. 

He impoverished millions. He hung them out to dry. He let corruption and criminality flourish.

Grand theft became sport. Billions in stolen wealth were hidden in Western banks or offshore tax havens.

He surrounded himself with like-minded apparachiks. He used his presidency for unchallenged political power. He implemented policies behind closed doors. 

Democracy was fantasy. Ordinary people had no say. Former Nezavisimaia Gazeta editor-in-chief Vitali Tret'iakov said earlier:

"(F)or the greater part of his presidency, Yeltsin slept, drank, was ill, relaxed, didn't show his face before the people and simply did nothing."

"Despised by the majority of (Russians, he'll) go down in history as the first president of Russia, having corrupted (the country) to the breaking point, not by his virtues and or by his defects, but rather by his dullness, primitiveness, and unbridled power lust of a hooligan."

He represented "free market" gangsterism. He was a Western darling. His human wreckage was ignored. WaPo editors turned a blind eye.

They bashed Putin irresponsibly for "working overtime to dismantle (his) legacy…(T)herein lies a second tragedy of the Ukraine coercion," they claimed.

They lied saying "(t)he rollback of democracy in Russia is not a new story. It began under Mr. Putin more than a decade ago."

Russian democracy shames America's fantasy version. WaPo editors didn't explain.

Wall Street Journal editors headlined "The Russia Problem," saying:

Western countries "need…rethinking (on) how to handle a revanchist Russia."

"…Mr. Putin grabbed Crimea…(H)is special forces are now fueling unrest in eastern Ukraine."

Russia "is an authoritarian regime bent on rewriting the rules of post-Cold War Europe."

"Lacking democratic legitimacy, (it) must employ an increasingly virulent nationalism and foreign conquest to maintain power."

"…(I)f unchecked (it) will continue beyond Ukraine."

Fact: Putin "grabbed" nothing.

Fact: Eastern Ukrainians act entirely on their own volition. No evidence suggests Russian involvement. Plenty indicts America overwhelmingly nationwide.

Fact: No Russian revanchism exists.

Fact: Putin respects national sovereignty and rule of law principles. He champions responsible polar-world policies.

Fact: Washington's hegemonic ambitions threatens humanity.

Fact: Foreign conquest is official US policy.

Fact: It bears repeating. Russian democracy shames America's sham version.

"The West…needs to act with more unity and conviction," said Journal editors. They want tougher anti-Russian policies.

They want more NATO involvement. They called Putin "a growing threat to Europe's peace and stability." 

They barely stopped short of urging war. They substituted irresponsible hate-mongering rubbish for legitimate opinion. It's longstanding editorial policy.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Irresponsible RT International Bashing

Irresponsible RT International Bashing

by Stephen Lendman

RT International (formerly Russia Today) represents the best of responsible news, commentary and analysis. 

John Kerry lied saying "the propaganda bullhorn that is the state-sponsored Russia Today program, has been deployed to promote - actually, Russia Today network - has deployed to promote President Putin's fantasy about what is playing out on the ground."  

"They almost spend full time devoted to this effort to propagandize and to distort what is happening or not happening in Ukraine."

RT justifiably demands an apology. Its Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said Kerry "refuse(s) to recognize facts that he doesn't like and makes such ungrounded accusations."

He twists vital truths. He does so for political advantage. Lies, damn lies, and Big ones substitute. 

It's standard Kerry practice. He's been caught red-handed numerous times. He's unapologetic.

"We are planning to write an official request to the State Department for concrete examples of when RT has distorted facts," said Simonyan.

"It's unfortunate that the head of the State Department knows so little about what's going on in Ukraine at the moment."

"It surprises me that at this difficult and embarrassing time for the US, State Secretary John Kerry has nothing else to worry about apart from our television channel."

Sergey Lavrov called his comments "uncivilized (and) prosecutorial." Western nations were "convinced for some time that (they) had a full monopoly on mass media," he said.

RT International "won a large audience in the US and Western Europe, not to mention Latin America and the Arab world."

Voice of Russia (VOR) said Kerry "leav(es) a lot of people uneasy." He doesn't "have an elegant way with words." He twists them irresponsibly.

"A bigger question…is how long Americans (will) put up with (his) inaccuracies." Increasing numbers shun mainstream media. 

They do so for good reason. They suppress real news and information. They substitute managed news misinformation garbage.

Cable channels feature it 24/7. Print publications do it online. Viewers and listeners are systematically lied to. Propaganda enlists public consent.

Media scoundrels distort, exaggerate and lie. Biased, irresponsible, sensationalist reporting masquerades as legitimate journalism.

Uncomfortable truths are hidden. State interests are served. So are corporate ones. So-called news fit to print isn't fit to read.

Television is worst of all. It's a wasteland of worthlessness. It sells junk people don't need. It's a machine for manufacturing Big Lies. 

Murdoch's world reflects it. Others replicate his demagoguery, propaganda, warmongering and junk food news. 

They reflect what famed journalist George Seldes (1890 - 1995) called "prostitution of the press." He fought censorship. He exposed Big Lies.

Major media today are worse than ever. Free and open societies aren't tolerated. They're at risk. Fiction substitutes for facts. 

Monied interests control things. State propaganda proliferates. Media scoundrels regurgitate it ad nauseam. 

News and information are carefully filtered. Dissent is marginalized and suppressed. Imperial wars are called liberating ones. Pacifism is considered sissy. 

Human and civil rights are suppressed for our own good. Patriotism means going along with government lawlessness.

Reality is upside down. Terrorism is what they do, not us. Popular interests are spurned. Beneficial social change is considered heresy. 

Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. Lives and freedoms lost are considered small prices to pay. Humanity is at risk but who cares.

Imperial and monied priorities alone matter. People are systematically lied to. Non-believers are cowed into submission.

De facto one-party rule is ignored. Sham elections are called legitimate ones. Democracy is pure fantasy. 

Media propaganda glorifies wars. It does so in the name of peace.

Managed news misinformation manufactures public support. Mind manipulation convinces people to back what demands condemnation. 

Invasions and occupations are called liberation. Crimes of war, against humanity and genocide are whitewashed.

Plunder is called economic development. Exploitation and imperial control are called democracy.

Might justifies right. Code language conceals real motives. Official policy involves ravaging the world one country at a time or in multiples. Nations are destroyed for their own good. 

Truth is the most powerful disinfectant. Suppressing it is official policy. Alex Carey's book titled "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty" explained, saying:

"The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy."

PR/propaganda pioneer Edward Bernays did earlier. His 1928 book titled "Propaganda" said it's possible to "regiment the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments their bodies."

"If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?"

He called doing it "engineering of consent." He invented the press release. He was Sigmund Freud's nephew. 

He drew on his psychoanalytic ideas. He pioneered PR techniques. He believed propaganda works the same way. 

Effective repetition gets people to believe it. Especially when real news and information are suppressed.

His 1947 book titled "The Engineering of Consent," called manipulating public opinion "the very essence of the democratic process, the freedom to persuade and suggest." 

It convinces people that harmful policies help them. It does so deceptively. Wealth, power and privilege alone are served. 

Popular interests don't matter. They're disappearing in plain sight. America is on a fast track toward tyranny. 

Media scoundrels cheerlead what threatens us. They're on the wrong side of history. They support what harms us. 

Repeating Big Lies gets people to believe them. Deplorable outcomes follow. Managed news misinformation works this way.

Suffering millions know best. Media scoundrels have much to answer for. Big Lies proliferated share responsibility for crimes too grave to ignore.

Neoliberal harshness is supported. So is America's police state apparatus. Thousands of political prisoners languish in its gulag. 

It's the world's largest by far. Dozens of torture prisons supplement it worldwide. Media scoundrels suppress what goes on. Deplorable US practices are buried.

The worst of Obama policies are ignored. He wrecked the economy. He looted the nation's wealth. 

He stole it from ordinary people. He handed it to Wall Street, war profiteers and other corporate favorites.

He consigned growing millions to impoverishment, unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, hunger and deprivation.

He's heading America for full-blown tyranny. He targets whistleblowers, dissenters, truth-tellers, Muslims, Latino immigrants, and environmental and animal rights activists called terrorists. Exposing government lawlessness is considered criminal.

Monied interests own him. He serves their interests alone. He spurns popular ones. He broke every major promise made. 

He contemptuous of human need. He deplores democratic values. He destroyed hard won labor rights. 

He's commodifying public education. He's making it another business profit center. 

He's anti-progressive, hard-right, reactionary, belligerent, and pro-corporate. His financial reform enriched predatory bankers. 

Obamacare scams millions. It's unaffordable for many. It benefits insurers, drug giants and large hospital chains. It denies full and effective medical treatment when most needed.

Obama represents the worst of rogue governance. Impeaching him is a national imperative. Media scoundrels ignore his worst malfeasance. Lies drown out truth. 

Fundamental journalistic principles are violated. Scurrilous reporting substitutes. Doing so makes yellow journalism look good by comparison.

Doing the right thing is its own reward. So is good journalism. Savvy readers and views know one from the other. 

Growing numbers choose reliable alternative sources. Maybe some day everyone will. 

Imagine the difference. Imagine a nation fit to live in. Imagine what's essential to work for. More than ever now it's crucial.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

More NATO Forces for Eastern Europe

More NATO Forces for Eastern Europe

by Stephen Lendman

US-led NATO threatens world peace. It's a global killing machine. It prioritizes militarism and war. It threatens humanity in the process.

It's escalating East/West tensions. It supports Kiev fascist putschists. It buries truth. It spreads lies about Russia.

On April 16, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said:

"We have just taken further measures to respond to the crisis in Ukraine."

"We call on Russia to be part of the solution. To stop destabilising Ukraine, pull back its troops from the borders and make clear it doesn't support the violent actions of well armed militias of pro-Russian separatists."

NATO deployed warplanes to Eastern Europe provocatively. US navy vessels patrol Black Sea waters. France plans sending one of its own to join them.

Rasmussen announced stepped up measures. He called doing so "reinforc(ing) our collective defence and demonstrat(ing) the strength of Allied security."

More warplanes are coming. More ships. More troop deployments. Sending them means more "readiness" on land, he said.

Measures announced are being implemented straightaway. "More will follow, if needed, in the weeks and months to come," he added.

Doing so "send(s) a clear message. NATO will protect every Ally and defend against any threat against our fundamental security. That is our firm commitment."

No threats exists. Invented ones substitute. Rasmussen didn't explain. He's a convenient US stooge. He serves at America's behest. He's one of its imperial frontmen.

Stars and Stripes is a Pentagon publication. On April 16, it headlined "NATO to deploy more forces to eastern Europe in response to Ukraine crisis."

It quoted Rasmussen saying "(m)ilitary staff from allied nations will deploy to enhance our preparedness, training and exercises. Our defense plans will be reviewed and reinforced."

General Philip Breedlove ordered increased readiness. He's Washington's European commander/Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR)/NATO Allied Command Operations head.

He wants more US-led NATO warplanes, ships and land forces. He wants them closer to Russia's borders. He does so despite no Moscow threat. Claims otherwise are false.

Commodore Georgiy Alafuzoff formerly was Finland's Defense Forces Intelligence Manager. He's currently EU intelligence military intelligence head.

No Russian involvement in Eastern Ukraine exists, he said. No reported military presence. Moscow had nothing to do with seizing government buildings in Eastern Ukraine cities, he stressed. 

Claims otherwise are false. "In my opinion, it's mostly people who live in the region who are not satisfied with the current state of affairs," he explained.

They're concerned about their own welfare. They risk losing fundamental freedoms. Alafuzoff agrees with what Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials stress. 

Western propaganda claims otherwise. It drowns out truth. It substitutes lies. On April 16, Itar Tass headlined "Foreign observers carry out 8 inspections in Russia's territory."

They reflect Moscow's military transparency measures. They comply with 2002 Open Skies Treaty provisions. Thirty-four nations are signatories.

They include Russia, America, Canada, Turkey, Ukraine and most other European states. They permit unarmed surveillance overflights. They promote military activity openness.

In March alone, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said foreign inspectors carried out eight Russian territory inspections. 

Seven were near the Ukraine/Russian border. No evidence suggests a massive military buildup. Claims otherwise are false. They're groundless, said Antonov.

"We have mechanisms of transparency agreed in Vienna within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)," he explained. 

"There is the Open Skies Treaty and the 2011 Vienna Document on Transparency and Confidence-building Measures which provide for certain verification procedures," he said.

"It is nonsense to say that the nuclear West is disarming while the nuclear Russia is building up forces." 

Russia destroyed over 2,000 ground-based ballistic missiles. They included cruise missiles able to hit targets from 500 to 5,500 kilometers away.

More than 3,000 nuclear warheads with a combined 500,000 ton yield were eliminated. So were 825 launchers.

"NATO has 10,000 tanks," said Antonov. "(W)e have only 3,500…"

"NATO has 22,000 armored vehicles compared to Russia's 7,500," he added. Don't figures speak for themselves, he stressed.

They're ignored. They're not reported. Russia bashing takes precedence. Lies substitute for truth.

Putin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Western news consumers are denied real information.

"It's very regrettable but it's so," he said. Even comments by Putin, Lavrov, and other top Russian officials are ignored. A "concrete wall of censorship" blocks them out.

"We never saw anything like this before. We never thought this could happen and that it could happen so openly," said Peskov.

On geopolitical issues, the Washington Post is a de facto CIA publication. Columnist David Ignatius has longstanding close US intelligence ties. 

His commentaries lack credibility. He lies for power. On April 15, he headlined "The Cost of Putin's adventurism in Ukraine."

None whatever exists. Not according to Ignatius. He lied saying he "seiz(ed) Crimea." 

He's "fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, perhaps as a prelude to invasion."

"…Russian agents infiltrat(ed) eastern Ukraine, backed by 40,000 troops just across the border," he claimed.

Truth is polar opposite. It bears repeating. Ignatius lies for power. He willfully spreads disinformation. He's stoking conflict.

"(T)he White House sees Putin weighing three options," he said. He calls all of them "bad for the West." Two are fabricated. More on them below.

The other is accurate. Putin supports involving all Ukrainian political voices in a federalized state. He favors Ukrainian nonaligned status.

Option two, said Ignatius, is "annex(ing) eastern Ukraine." Putin forthrightly opposes it. Claims otherwise are false.

Option three is "invasion, using the pretext of civil war in eastern Ukraine," said Ignatius.

Putin plans none. At the same time, he's committed to protecting Russian nationals if endangered. 

Western leaders would do no less for their own. Washington invents threats. It does so to deploy US forces to foreign countries.

Putin responsibly uses his. He prioritizes saving lives. Mass slaughter and destruction follow Pentagon deployments.

Don't expect Ignatius to explain. He claims Putin "prefers the veneer of legitimacy." He shames his US counterpart.

He respects national sovereignty. He supports rule of law principles. His governance is polar opposite Obama's. 

Ignatius claims he prefers "paramilitary covert action, rather than rolling tanks across an international border."

Russia's military strength is a "warning sign that (he'll) keep the threat of force alive until his demands are met," he added.

Hegemons operate this way. Washington is Exhibit A. One country after another is targeted. They're systematically ravaged and destroyed.

Putin prioritizes peace and stability. His policies reflect his pronouncements. Ignatius didn't explain. 

Lies substituted for truth. His columns feature them. He's part of the Putin bashing crowd. He's one of many. 

Outrageous misinformation persists. Readers are cheated. They're grossly misinformed. War of words is vicious. 

Propaganda wars precede hot ones. Conflicts glorify them. They do so in the name of peace. They rage one after another. 

Hegemons give no quarter. Mass slaughter and destruction are standard practice. All US direct and proxy wars turn out this way. 

Ukraine may become the latest example. Victims are blamed for US crimes. Today's yellow journalism makes earlier stuff look tame by comparison.

The so-called "newspaper of record" operates as lead US ministry of information and propaganda. The Washington Post doesn't hide its CIA connection.

Big Lies repeat ad nauseam. Perhaps employment contracts mandate proliferating misinformation, deceit and distortion.

Truth is buried. Ethical standards are ignored. Daily fare reads like bad fiction. Television is worst of all.

Demagoguery, warmongering, Big Lies, censorship, pseudo-journalism, and juiced-up junk food news substitute for vital information viewers most need to know.

May Ukrainians for peace, equity and justice prevail. May they inspire activists globally. May they motivate others to join them. 

May their ranks overflow. May freedom triumph worldwide. May humanity be saved.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Media Blackout on Smart Meter Dangers

Major power utilities continue to deploy “smart” electrical meters on businesses and private residences throughout the United States and Canada. Yet those in North America and elsewhere remain in the dark on the negative health effects of such devices that systematically blast their homes with radio-frequency (RF) radiation on a minute-by-minute, round-the-clock basis.

In 2009 the Obama administration partnered with utilities by allocating $3.4 billion in federal stimulus funds toward building a nationwide “smart grid,” where smart meters figure centrally.[1] The project is part of President Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” that under United Nations auspices seeks to reduce US carbon emissions 20% by the year 2020.[2]

There is more than ample research available that has associated negative health effects of RF radiation emitted by smart meters [3] for regulatory authorities to place restrictions on power utilities and compel them to abide by the precautionary principle. Such restrictions would require power providers to refrain from wide scale installation of smart meters until a sufficient body of scientific research demonstrating the safety of such devices has been produced and rigorously evaluated.

Yet in the US and elsewhere the imperative of having a “smart grid,” the prospect of a carbon trading scheme, lax (and in at least some cases corrupt) state and federal regulatory bodies, and the sheer power of the utilities combine to jeopardize the long term health of the entire population.

In a purportedly democratic society news outlets play a decisive role in such an impending health crisis. By failing to report on the dubious health research of smart meters and the fact that the public is being involuntarily subjected to such technology, news media are a key factor in the citizenry’s continued ignorance and inaction.

In May 2011 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer categorized “radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless cellphone use.”[4] Despite this warning from a well-recognized source, the utilities stubbornly insist that all residences must be equipped with a smart meter issuing dangerous electropollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ceased studying the health effects of radiofrequency radiation when the Senate Appropriations Committee cut the department’s funding and forbade it from further research into the area.[5] Thereafter RF limits were codified as mere “guidelines” based on the EPA’s tentative findings and are presently overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

These weakly enforced standards are predicated on the alleged “thermal effect” of RF to which the FCC subscribes. In other words, if the energy emitted from a wireless antenna or device is not powerful enough to heat the skin or flesh then no danger is posed to human health.[6]

To this day power utilities cling to this severely outmoded and unscientific standard when confronted with the formidable body of research linking RF to cancer, destruction of DNA, and other negative health effects. News media seldom question the FCC policy when it is cited by utilities and regulators alike to underline the supposed overall safety of smart meters.[7]

An electronic LexisNexis search of newspaper articles referencing “smart meters” appearing between May 31, 2011, the date WHO classified RF a Class 2B carcinogen, and June 19, 2014, yields close to 839 pieces published in English language papers. Yet for the same time span only one tenth of the sample (82 articles) mentions “smart meters” and “carcinogen” or “carcinogenic” in the same report. Of these, 65 of the articles appeared in Canadian, and to a much lesser degree Australian or UK papers. Note that each sample includes guest editorials and letters to the editor penned by concerned citizens.

Using parameters from the date May 31, 2011, the date WHO declared RF a Class 2B carcinogen, to January 19, 2014, of 93 newspaper articles referencing “smart meter” and “World Health Organization,” 76 were published in Canadian, and to a much lesser degree UK, Australian, Malaysian or New Zealand outlets.

As the above suggests, the extremely limited awareness especially in the US of the potential health consequences of exposure to the continual RF emitted by smart meters is primarily because the issue is being blacked out in the press. When such dangers are reported, they are tempered by the refrain of the FCC’s “thermal effect” policy, which in light of the abundant countervailing research amounts to disinformation.

In December 2013 I contacted the reporter at the local metro-daily Palm Beach Post covering the state power utility, Florida Power and Light, and its smart meter policy to remind her of the bevy of public health and medical research documenting the likely consequences of sustained RF exposure. I also directed her to the WHO statement classifying RF as potentially carcinogenic.

To the Post’s credit a subsequent story highlighting Florida Power and Light’s “opt out” policy referenced the WHO statement. Yet the piece appeared deep in the business section of the paper, and the WHO warning was accompanied by the Florida Public Service Commission’s familiar rejoinder.

In 2011 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields such as those emitted by cellular phones, microwaves and smart meters as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

The PSC has said its authority does not extend to health issues related to meters. Smart meters are certified for compliance with radio frequency emission standards by the Federal Communications Commission, and the FCC has deemed that meters in compliance with the standards do not have adverse health impacts.[8]

While one or more hidden agendas likely exist to keep the public unaware of the health dangers associated with RF and smart meters (again, think carbon trading, in addition to the social control possibilities via energy rationing and surveillance soon to be realized through the “smart grid,”) a more immediate cause for such censorship is simply profit and continued media monopoly control of public opinion and discourse.

The telecommunications industry whose services are largely predicated on RF has recently exhibited the largest growth in advertising outlays, which are surely recognized in bottom line terms by the news and media industries.[9] With potential continued revenue growth on this scale, raising questions and relaying information that can safeguard public health and allow citizens to ask intelligent questions concerning the health of themselves and their loved ones simply constitutes poor business practice.

Notes

[1] “President Obama Announces $3.4 Billion Investment to Spur Transition to Smart Energy Grid,” The White House, October 27, 2009.

[2] Ed King, “Obama Promises to Cut Carbon Pollution in Climate Action Plan,” Responding to Climate Change, June 26, 2013.

[3] See, for example, the American Association of Environmental Medicine EMF-RF Reference List (PDF) and AAEM’s April 12, 2012 Press Advisory (PDF).

[4] World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer, “IARC Classifies Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields as Possibly Carcinogenic,” May 31, 2011.

[5] Susan Luzzaro, “Field of Cell Phone Tower Beams,” San Diego Reader, May 18, 2011,

[6] FCC Office of Engineering and Technology, http://www.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety. See also James F. Tracy “Wireless Technology and the Accelerated Toxification of America,” memoryholeblog.com, July 7, 2012.

[7] When this author obtained documents through a public records request from the Florida Public Service Commission on Florida Power and Light’s smart meter campaign–a very simple and routine endeavor for any journalist–it was evident that no human health impact studies on statewide smart meter deployment were ever considered. The PSC merely accepted FPL’s rationale and related public relations literature.

[8] Susan Salisbury, “Media Opt-Out Fee to Be Considered, PSC Staff Proposes Enrollment, Monthly Cost for Device For Device Foes,” Palm Beach Post, January 3, 2014, B4.

[9] “Ad Spend By Sector: Consumer Goods and Telecom Take the Cake in 2012,” Nielsen.com, April 25, 2013.

Republished at GlobalResearch.ca on January 21, 2014.

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Corruption Scandal Rocks Turkey

Corruption Scandal Rocks Turkey

by Stephen Lendman

Turkey is a democracy in name only. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is ruling despot. 

He's led Ankara's Justice and Development Party (AKP) since August 2001. He's been prime minister since March 2003. Why Turks put up with him they'll have to explain.

Last spring, anti-government protests rocked Ankara, Istanbul and other Turkish cities. Police violence followed. Brutality is longstanding policy. Corruption is deep-seated. 

It's rife in Turkey's construction sector. Erdogan established a land sales office. Ostensibly it was to build affordable public housing. 

Widespread privatizations followed. Billions of dollars worth of government assets were sold. 

Sweetheart deals and bribes accompanied them. Well-connected companies got no-bid contracts. State banks provided generous financing. 

Projects developed had nothing to do with public housing. Berat Albayrak heads Calik Holding. He's well connected. He's Erdogan's son-in-law. 

He may be linked to the corruption probe. He builds power plants in Turkmenistan. He's involved in an AKP backed oil pipeline project. He has other government related business.

The current scandal stems from a year ago anonymous letter. It was sent to police. It alleged Ankara and local government authorities illegally facilitated construction projects. Huge profits were involved.

Surveillance, phone tapping, and other investigatory methods followed. They produced considerable evidence of corruption. Government ministers are involved. Million dollar bribes were paid.

State-run Halk Bank head was found with about $4.5 million in cash. It was at home. It was stashed in shoe boxes. 

Millions more were seized from other suspects. Over a dozen are accused of bribery and money laundering, as well as gold and antiques smuggling.

On December 17, Turkey's Financial Crimes and Battle Against Criminal Incomes department detained 47 people. 

Sons of Ankara's Economy, Interior and Environment and Urban Planning ministers are involved. 

So is Fatih district municipality major Mustafa Demir and real estate tycoon Ali Agaoglu. Minister of European Union Affairs Minister Egemen Bagis is being investigated.

Whether scandal touches Erdogan remains to be seen. He claims attempts to do so will be "left empty handed."

On Christmas day, he reshuffled his cabinet. Three ministers resigned. He sack 10 others. He replaced them. Events are fast-moving.

Erdogan Bayraktar was Minister of Environment and Urban Planning. He was a member of parliament. He felt forced to resign both posts. 

He said Erdogan should do so. He claimed suspect construction projects under investigation were approved with Erdogan's full knowledge.

"With your permission, I want to make very short statements in the form of a press statement," he said.

"It is of course a right and an authority for Mr. Prime Minister to work with whichever minister he wants and to remove whichever minister he wants from office." 

"But I do not accept the pressure being put on me which says, 'Resign because of an operation in which there are statements of bribery and corruption and release a declaration that will relieve me.' "

“I do not (accept it) because a big part of the zoning plans that are in the investigation file and were confirmed were made with approval from Mr. Prime Minister."

"For the sake of the well-being of this nation, I believe the prime minister should resign."

He accused him of involvement in suspect property deals. He's linked to profiteering business interests. 

Scandal heads closer to directly connecting him. Perhaps it will as investigations continue. Turkish Professor Soli Ozel called Bayraktar's call for Erdogan's resignation "extraordinarily dramatic."

He's "someone who was very close to the prime minister. This is someone you'd expect to fall on his sword without question."

Other analysts see things potentially spinning out of control. Whether Erdogan can prevent it remains to be seen. 

He may end up victimized by his own transgressions. It depends on how much public anger grows. He weathered previous crises. It's hard to know if this one is too great to contain.

Investigations targeted over 90 suspects. Over two dozen were arrested. Dozens of police chiefs were sacked. Erdogan is far from squeaky-clean. 

On December 21, Ankara's police department Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Unit head Hakan Yuksekdag was found dead in his car. Officially it was pronounced suicide. 

Further investigation is being conducted. The incident occurred a day after 14 senior Ankara National Police Department officials were removed from their posts.

Erdogan blamed ongoing events on an international conspiracy. He vowed revenge on figures connected to Muhammed Fethullah Gulen. 

He heads the movement bearing his name. He claims a million or more followers. They include judges and senior police officials.

He's currently in self-imposed exile. He's in Pennsylvania. He's a writer, former imam, and Islamic opinion leader. He's an important figure. 

He's involved with issues relating to Turkey's future. He and Erdogan haven't gotten along for years.

Former Minister of Internal Affairs Idris Naim Sahin said Erdogan's actions fall short of law and justice. He's trying to defuse public anger, he said. He's shifting blame to do it.

Thousands of Istanbul, Ankara, and Ismir protesters demanded Erdogan's resignation. They did so on Christmas. They did it in other cities. They protested last spring. 

They're justifiably outraged. Their longstanding anger hasn't waned. Erdogan works against their well-being. Clashes with police erupted. Arrests followed.

Protesters chanted; "Three ministers aren't enough. The whole government should resign. Corruption is everywhere. Resistance is everywhere."

Opposition party members accused Erdogan of deepening despotic rule. Critics use the term "deep state." It refers to a shadowy power structure. It lacks checks and balances.

Turkey's Republican People's Party (CHP) is Erdogan's main rival. It's Turkey's oldest political party. It's AKP's Main Opposition in the Grand National Assembly. Kemal Kilicdaroglu heads it.

"Erdogan has a 'deep state,' " he said. His AKP "has a 'deep state.' " Efkan Ala is new Interior Minister. 

He's an Erdogan crony. He formerly was Diyarbakir Province governor. He's part of what's ongoing, said Kilicdaroglu.

He believes Ala's appointment is part of an Erdogan power grab. He wants greater police control. Outgoing Interior Minister Muammer Guler fired hundreds of police officers. Senior commanders were sacked.

Erdogan's new ministers were carefully chosen. He appointed officials "that will not show any opposition to him," said Kilicdaroglu.

Turkey is more police state than democracy. Press freedom is compromised. Censorship is standard practice. Dissent is verboten. Challenging government authority is called terrorism. 

No country imprisons more journalists than Turkey. Corruption is deep-seated. Neoliberal harshness writ large is policy. Popular interests are spurned.

Erdogan represents wealth, power and privilege. It's hard imagining he's not involved in corruption in some way. He's gotten his son-in-law business tycoon sweetheart deals.

He prioritizes Turkey's business model. It reflects capitalism's dark side. It includes unrestrained profit-making, privatizations, cheap labor, deregulation, corporate-friendly tax cuts, marginalized worker rights, and speculative capital inflows. 

Economic conditions are inherently unstable. Turkey suffers rolling recessions, crisis conditions, and fragile largely jobless recoveries. It's increasingly dependent on imports of resources and capital goods.

Youth unemployment tops 22%. An entire generation is affected. Conditions are socially and economically unstable. 

Privation fuels public anger. Eventually it may spiral out-of-control. It may be just a matter of time. Turkey has a long history of rebellion. 

Erdogan is increasingly hated. He weathered last spring's anti-government protests. It remains to be seen what's next.

Nicolas Spiro heads Spiro Sovereign Strategy. "The dismissal of half an entire cabinet is worrying enough," he said. "The corruption probe is escalating by the day."

It's "causing a further deterioration in market sentiment towards Turkey." Erdogan's new cabinet includes four deputy prime ministers. 

Ayse Islam is the only woman appointed. She's Family and Social Policy Minister. Others include:

Deputy prime minister: Bulent Arinc

Deputy prime minister: Ali Babacan

Deputy prime minister: Besir Atalay

Deputy prime minister: Emrullah Isler

Justice: Bekir Bozdag

Defense: Ismet Yilmaz

Interior: Efkan Ala

Foreign Affairs: Ahmet Davutoglu

European Union: Mevlut Cavusoglu

Finance: Mehmet Simsek

Economy: Nihat Zeybekci

Energy and Natural Resources: Taner Yildiz

National Education: Nabi Avci

Labour and Social Security: Faruk Celik

Environment and Urban Development: Idris Gulluce

Health: Mehmet Muezzinoglu

Transport: Lutfi Elvan

Food, Agriculture and Husbandry: Mehmet Mehdi Eker

Science, Industry and Technology: Fikri Isik

Culture and Tourism: Omer Celik

Forestry and Water Affairs: Veysel Eroglu

Customs and Trade: Hayati Yazici

Development: Cevdet Yilmaz

Youth and Sports: Akif Cagatay Kilic

Scandal erupted months ahead of next March's local elections. Parliamentary elections involving Erdogan are scheduled in 2015. 

If held today, voters might oust him. It's way too early to know how they'll react in 2015. Istanbul-based Global Source Partners analyst Atilla Yesilada said ongoing events suggest Erdogan is losing control.

"Forced to act, (he) tried to get rid of his burdens," he said. "But this is a political crisis, and it is hard to tell how it will unfold. These investigations may expand in coming months."

Doing so perhaps may link Erdogan to deep-seated corruption. If so, he may be forced to resign. The fullness of time will tell.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour


http://www.dailycensored.com/corruption-scandal-rocks-turkey/

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Police State Britain


Police State Britain

by Stephen Lendman

Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) operates like NSA. They work cooperatively. They're out-of-control rogue agencies. 

They spy on their own populations. They do it globally. They conduct espionage. They collect enormous amounts of personal information. They do it illegally. 

Obama wages war on freedom. He targets whistleblowers and investigative journalists exposing government wrongdoing. So does Britain. It equates doing so with terrorism.

London's Guardian is threatened. Its offices were raided. Hard drive stored information was destroyed. Its editor, Alan Rusbridger, was warned. Cease and desist or else.

He asked if steps would be taken "to close down the Guardian's reporting through a legal route - by going to court to force the surrender of the material on which we were working."

"The official confirmed that, in the absence of handover or destruction, this was indeed the government's intentions."

It was "one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history," he said. It was likely the most chilling.

Two GCHQ security experts oversaw the destruction of Guardian hard drives. They checked to be sure nothing but "mangled bits of metal" remained.

Whitehall was satisfied. Freedom in Britain sustained another body blow. It's fast disappearing like in America. Both nations are more police states than democracies. 

They mock virtually all democratic principles. They govern lawlessly. They do it ruthlessly. Sweeping surveillance is official policy. So is suppressing information about government wrongdoing.

Journalists involved in exposing it are threatened. Guardian disclosures fall under parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee's remit. 

It reinforces government claims about compromising national security. When good journalism is equated with doing it, freedom dies.

Guardian contributors are targeted for doing their job. Doing so amounts to state censorship. Warnings about prosecutions and imprisonments follow.

Free expression is the most important of all rights. Without it, all others at risk. On the bogus pretext of fighting terrorism, America and Britain want none of their lawless activities exposed.

On August 18, UK authorities detained Glenn Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, at Heathrow Airport.

He was held incommunicado for nine hours. He was denied legal counsel. A counterterrorism law pretext was used to do so. 

He was in transit from Berlin to Rio de Janeriro. He threatened no one. He violated no laws. It didn't matter. 

His laptop, cell phone, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and game consoles were confiscated. It was done lawlessly. Police states operate this way. 

London's Observer said Miranda was detained "for promoting 'political' causes." His detention shone "new light on the Metropolitan police's explanation for invoking terrorism powers - a decision critics have called draconian."

London's Mirror headlined "David Miranda detention shows UK is becoming a police state." Targeting him "shows just how determined the security services are to get the upper hand."

"Big Brother isn't just watching you. He knows which plane you're on, where you're traveling, and he's in close contact with Big Daddy across the water in Washington."

It "illustrates the general point that we are now living in a security state."

"Historically, the national interest has always been what's good for the government, not what's right for the people." 

It's more than ever true today. State-of-the-art technology makes it easy. So do rogue politicians wanting unchallenged control.

Greenwald called detaining his partner "a failed attempt at intimidation." I'll have the opposite effect, he said. Virtually never are in transit passengers detained like Miranda.

Schedule 7 of Britain's Terrorism Act says "fewer than 3 people in every 10,000 are examined as they pass through UK borders." Over 97% of examinations last under an hour. 

Individuals are questioned regarding possible involvement "in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism."

Miranda didn't enter Britain. He was en route to Rio. Targeting him was unrelated to terrorism. It was intimidation. It was harassment. Downing Street was directly involved.

It sent a message. Responsible journalism exposing government wrongdoing is threatened. Authorities want it entirely eliminated.

Miranda was released uncharged. Journalists, editors, human rights lawyers and civil libertarians expressed outrage over what happened. Doing so reflects police state harshness.

UK Metropolitan police lied saying:

"Holding and properly using intelligence gained from such stops is a key part of fighting crime, pursuing offenders and protecting the public."

Police states justify lawlessness this way. Miranda was threatened. He was treated like a criminal. 

He was told he faced prosecution if he didn't cooperate. He did nothing wrong. It didn't matter. It got worse.

On September 6, Britain's high court said government authorities could continue examining materials seized from him. 

They could do it to determine if he violated Britain's Terrorism and Official Secrets Acts. UK courts lack independence like America's. 

They support the worst of government practices. They rubber-stamp some of the most outrageous acts. They violate fundamental freedoms doing so.

On November 2, Reuters headlined "NSA Leaks Journalist Glenn Greenwald's Partner Accused of 'Terrorism,' 'Espionage.' 

After returning to Rio, Miranda filed suit. He wants lawlessly seized materials returned.

"At a London court hearing a document called a 'Ports Circulation Sheet' was read into the record." 

"It was prepared by Scotland Yard - in consultation with the MI5 counterintelligence agency."

It said "(i)intelligence indicates that Miranda is likely to be involved in espionage activity which has the potential to act against the interests of UK national security."

"We assess that Miranda is knowingly carrying material the release of which would endanger people's lives." 

"Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism."

Miranda wasn't charged. At least not so far. He remains threatened. He may become as much at risk as Edward Snowden.

A hearing on Miranda's legal challenge is scheduled this week. During a preparatory session days earlier, "new details of how and why British authorities (targeted him) were made public…"

Materials authorities seized allegedly included 58,000 NSA and GCHQ documents. In an email to Reuters, Greenwald said:

"For all the lecturing it doles out to the world about press freedoms, the UK offers virtually none. They are absolutely and explicitly equating terrorism with journalism."

On October 31, German lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele met with Edward Snowden. He did so in Moscow. He released a letter he wrote. In part, it said:

"I have been invited to write to you regarding your investigation of mass surveillance."

"I believe I witnessed systemic violations of law by my government that created a moral duty to act." 

"As a result of reporting these concerns, I have faced a severe and sustained campaign of persecution that forced me from my family and home."

"Citizens around the world as well as high officials - including in the United States - have judged the revelation of an unaccountable system of pervasive surveillance to be a public service."

"Though the outcome of my efforts has been demonstrably positive, my government continues to treat dissent as defection, and seeks to criminalize political speech with felony charges that provide no defense."

"(S)peaking truth is not a crime." He thanked supporters for their "efforts in upholding the international laws that protect us all."

Not in America or Britain. In a document read into the public record, Britain's MI5 said:

"Our main objectives against David Miranda are to understand the nature of any material he is carrying (so as to) mitigate the risks to national security that this material poses."

A UK Washington spokesperson had no comment. Equating good journalism with terrorism shows Britain will stop at nothing to keep government wrongdoing secret.

Doing so shows how low Britain has sunk. Its stripped off facade reveals dark side tyranny. 

Britain's Terrorism Law provides wide latitude. Its terrorism definition includes a "use or threat designed to influence the government (or international governmental organization)."

It's "made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, or ideological cause."

It does so if it "endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action (and) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public."

Most chilling is that UK security services, on their own, can decide if legitimate journalism is terrorism or its equivalent.

They can do so without publicly releasing materials allegedly able to compromise national security. They can pronounce guilt on their say alone. They can get courts to rubber-stamp their accusations. 

It's much the same in America. Government whistleblowers are threatened. They're fraudulently charged under the long ago outdated Espionage Act. 

It's a WW I relic. It belongs in history's dustbin. It's unrelated to exposing government wrongdoing. Revealing it is equated with aiding the enemy.

The so-called "enemy" apparently is "we the people." Our fundamental constitutional rights are threatened. Upholding them is what courts are supposed to do.

Not in America. Not in Britain. Terrorism or acts relating to it are what both governments say they are.

On July 30, Bradley Manning was wrongfully convicted on 20 of 22 bogus charges. He never had a chance. 

He was judged guilty by accusation. He got 35 years imprisonment for acting responsibly. 

It's by far the harshest ever punishment for leaking information everyone has a right to know.

Washington wants Edward Snowden prosecuted the same way. Russia granted him political asylum.

Whether he'll stay free remains to be seen. He's America's public enemy number one. Safety is his main concern. 

He's got good reason to worry. He's a wanted man. He knows how NSA operates. It'll try monitoring him every way possible.

Whether he'll stay free from its tracking remains to be seen. The same is true for everyone.

America and Britain are ruthless. They're unforgiving. They want unchallenged power. They want no one compromising it. 

They want government wrongdoing suppressed. UK Prime Minister David Cameron threatened Britain's media with injunctions or so-called D (Defense Advisory) notices. 

They're official requests not to publish or broadcast information for reasons of national security.

London's Guardian and Miranda remain in limbo. Criminal charges could follow. Responsible journalism is threatened. 

It bears repeating. Equating it with terrorism shows how low Britain has sunk. The same holds for America. Police state justice prevails.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

http://www.dailycensored.com/police-state-britain/

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The Financial Bearings of Manufactured Dissent

This article was originally published at Memory Hole and Global Research on August 3, 2012. It is reposted here for further consideration in light of Nolan Higdon’s article, “Disinfo Wars: Alex Jones’ War on Your Mind,” published by Project Censored’s in September 2013, and the exchange concerning that work taking place here earlier this month.

The following should not be seen as a blanket condemnation of progressive media outlets, which often produce important work. Rather, the observations suggest how, particularly when faced with the challenge of forthrightly addressing “deep events” and the equivalent, such media are arguably subject to similar institutional pressures and self-censorship more overtly exhibited by their corporate-owned counterparts.*

Why do the self-proclaimed left-progressive “independent” media repeatedly overlook, obfuscate or otherwise leave unexamined some of the most momentous geopolitical and environmental events—September 11th and related false flag terror events, the United Nations’ “Agenda 21,” the genuinely grave environmental threats posed by the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, geoengineering (weather modification), and the dire health effects of genetically modified organisms?[1] In fact, these phenomena together point to a verifiable transnational political economic framework against which one or more mass social movements could readily emerge.

Yet over the past decade the actual function of such journalistic outlets has increasingly been to “manufacture dissent”–in other words, to act as the controlled opposition to the financial oligarchs and an encroaching scientific dictatorship that to an already significant degree controls the planet and oversees human thought and activity. Indeed, many alternative media outlets that appear to be independent of the power structure are funded by the very forces they are reporting on through their heavy reliance on the largesse of major philanthropic foundations.

With the across-the-board deregulation of the transnational financial system in the late 1990s and consequent enrichment of Wall Street and London-based investment banks and hedge funds, the resources of such foundations have increased tremendously. Consequently, the overall funding of “activist” organizations and “alternative” media has climbed sharply, making possible the broadly disseminated appearance of strident voices speaking truth to power. In fact, the protesters and journalists alike are often tethered to the purse strings of the powerful. As a result,

Dissent has been compartmentalized. Separate “issue oriented” protest movements (e.g. environment, anti-globalization, peace, women’s rights, climate change) are encouraged and generally funded as opposed to a cohesive mass movement.[2]

The efforts of financial elites to influence left-progressive political opinion goes back a century or more. In the early 1900s, for example, the Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundations decisively shaped the trajectory of elementary and higher education. Yet a less-examined development is how such influence extended to the mass media. A specific instance of such interests seeking to influence the Left community specifically is the establishment of The New Republic magazine at a decisive time in US history.

Purchased Political Opinion: The Founding of The New Republic

Throughout the twentieth century powerful financial interests have sought to anticipate and direct American left wing social movements and political activity by penetrating their opinion-shaping apparatus. This was seldom difficult because progressives were usually strapped for funds while at the same time eager for a mouthpiece to reach the masses. In 1914 Wall Street’s most powerful banking house, J.P. Morgan, was willing to provide both. “The purpose was not to destroy, dominate, or take over but was really threefold,” historian Carroll Quigley explains.

(1) to keep informed about the thinking of Left-wing or liberal groups; (2) to provide them with a mouthpiece so that they could “blow off steam,” and (3) to have a final veto on their publicity and possibly on their actions, if they ever went “radical.” There was nothing really new about this decision, since other financiers had talked about it and even attempted it earlier. What made it decisively important this time was the combination of its adoption by the dominant Wall Street financier, at a time when tax policy was driving all financiers to seek tax-exempt refuges for their fortunes, and at a time when the ultimate in Left-wing radicalism was about to appear under the banner of the Third International.[3]

As an example, in 1914 Morgan partner and East Asia agent Willard Straight established The New Republic with money from himself and his wife, Dorothy Payne Whitney of the Payne Whitney fortune. “’Use your wealth to put ideas into circulation,’ Straight had told his wife. ‘Others will give to churches and hospitals.’”[4]

The idea of funding such an organ partly developed between the wealthy couple after they read Herbert Croly’s The Promise of American Life, in which the well-known liberal author assailed the foundations of traditional Progressivism, with its Jeffersonian doctrine of free enterprise and inclination for decentralized, unrestrictive government. In such a laissez-faire arrangement, Croly reasoned, the strong would always take advantage of the weak. “Only a strong central government could control and equitably distribute the benefits of industrial capitalism. … guided by a strong and farsighted leader.” Toward this end Croly proposed a “constructive” or “New Nationalism”, and a medium to reach a captive audience could promote such ideals on a regular basis.[5]

As Croly recalls, Straight

hunted me up and asked me to make a report for him on the kind of social education which would be most fruitful in a democracy. Thereafter I saw him frequently, and in one of our conversations we discussed a plan for a new weekly which would apply to American life, as it developed, the political and social ideas which I had sketched in the book … We hoped to make it the mouthpiece of those Americans to whom disinterested thinking and its result in convictions were important agents of the adjustment between human beings and the society in which they live.[6]

Straight designated Croly editor-in-chief of The New Republic‘s and the young socialist writer Walter Lippmann, who by his mid-twenties was an adviser to presidents and a member of the shadowy Round Table Groups, was approached to be a founding editorial board member and subsequently entrusted with gearing the American readership toward a more favorable view of Britain.

Croly later noted how Straight was hardly liberal or progressive in his views. Rather, he was a regular international banker and saw the magazine’s purpose

simply [as] a medium for advancing certain designs of such international bankers, notably to blunt the isolationism and anti-British sentiments so prevalent among many American progressives, while providing them with a vehicle for expression of their progressive views in literature, art, music, social reform, and even domestic polices.[7]

Following establishment of The New Republic, Straight considered purchasing The New York Evening Post or The Washington Herald. “He longed for a daily newspaper,” Croly recalls, “which would communicate public information in the guise of news as well as in the guise of opinion and which would be read by hundreds of thousands of people instead of only tens of thousands, to serve as his personal medium of expression.”[8]

Straight and Payne Whitney’s son, “Mike” Straight, carried on The New Republic through the 1940s in close alignment with Left and labor organizations, even providing Henry Wallace with a position on the editorial staff in 1946 and backing Wallace’s 1948 presidential bid.

With Willard Straight’s early death in 1918 another Morgan partner, Tom Lamont, apparently became the bank’s representative to the Left, supporting The Saturday Review of Literature in the 1920s and 1930s, and owning the New York Post from 1918 to 1924. Lamont, his wife Flora, and son Corliss were major patrons to a variety of Left concerns, including the American Communist Party and Trade Union Services Incorporated, which in the late 1940s published fifteen union organs for CIO unions. Frederick Vanderbilt Field, another well-heeled Wall Street banker, sat on the editorial boards of The New Masses and the Daily Worker—New York’s official Communist newspapers.[9]

Progressive-Left Media’s Financing Today

Since the 1990s the framework for guiding the Left has developed into a vast combine of powerful, well-funded philanthropic foundations that function on the behalf of their wealthy owners as a well-oiled mechanism of opinion management. Such philanthropic entities oversee formidable wealth that today’s heirs to the Straight and Payne Whitney tradition seek to shield from taxation while. At the same time they are able to employ such resources to influence political thought, discourse, and action. Further, following the broad-based 1999 protests of the World Trade Organization in Seattle, global elite interests recognized the importance of developing the means to “manufacture dissent.”

Such foundations no doubt exert at least subtle influence over the editorial decisions of the vulnerable progressive media beholden to them for financing. This is partially due to the personnel of the foundations themselves. The task of doling out money frequently falls to foundation officials who are retired political advocates with certain notions about what organizations should be funded and, moreover, how the money should be spent. As Michael Shuman, former director of the Institute for Policy Studies observed in the late 1990s,

A number of program officers at progressive foundations are former activists who decided to move from the demand to the supply side to enjoy better salaries, benefits and working hours. Yet they still want to live like activists vicariously… by exercising influence over grantees through innumerable meetings, reports, conferences and “suggestions” . . . Many progressive funders treat their grantees like disobedient children who need to be constantly watched and disciplined.[10]

Doling out grant money to a journalistic outlet is especially controversial since genuine journalism is inherently political given its inclination toward pursuing and examining the decisions and policies of power elites. As Ron Curran of the Independent Media Institute notes, money from foundations “has engendered a climate of secrecy at IAJ (Institute for Alternative Journalism n/k/a Independent Media Institute [IMI]) that’s in direct conflict with IAJ’s role as a progressive media organization.” He continues, “the only money nonprofits can get these days is from private foundations–and those foundations want to control the political agenda.”[11]

If funding is any indication of sheer influence over progressive media, that influence has grown by leaps and bounds at the foremost left media outlets since the 1990s. For example, between 1990 and 1995 the four major progressive print news outlets, The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times, and Mother Jones received a combined $537,500 in grants and contributions.

In 2010, however, The Nation Institute (The Nation) alone received $2,267,184 in funding, The Progressive took in $1,310,889, the Institute for Public Affairs (In These Times) accepted $961,015, and the Foundation for National Progress (Mother Jones) collected $4,725,235.[12]

These figures are for grants and contributions alone and do not include revenue generated from subscription sales and other promotions. Alongside the overall compromised nature such funding can bring, the tremendous increase over the past decade suggests one reason for why specific subject matter that is off-limits for coverage or discussion.

With the development of the internet several new alternative-progressive outlets have emerged between the late 1990s and early 2000s, including Alternet, Democracy Now!, and satellite channel Link TV. Recognizing their influence, a vast array of “public support” has likewise made these multi-million dollar operations alongside their print-based forebears.

For example, between 2003 and 2010 Democracy Now! has taken in $25,577,243—an annual average of $3,197,155, with 2010 assets after liabilities of $11,760,006. Between 2006 and 2010 the Pacific News Service received $26,867,417, or $5,373,483 annually.  The Foundation for National Progress (Mother Jones) brought in $46,623,197, or $4,662,320, and Link TV raised $54,839,710 between 2001 and 2009 for average annual funding of $6,093,301.(Figure 1)

Media Organization
501(c) 3 Total Support 2001-2010 Average Annual Support 2001-2010
Net Assets After Liabilities (2010)
Democracy Now
Productions Inc.
Yes $25,577,243 (from 2003) $3,197,155 $11,760,006
Schumann Center for Media and Democracy
Yes NA $3,471,682 (2010) $33,314,688
Nation Institute (The Nation) Yes $22,246,533 $2,224,653 $4,798,831
Pacific News Service Yes $26,867,417 (2006-2010) $5,373,483 $712,011
Foundation for National Progress (Mother Jones) Yes $46,623,19

$4,662,320

-$1,189,040
The Progressive Yes $8,702,146 $870,215 $5,493,782
Link TV Yes $54,839,710 (excludes 2010) $6,093,301 $1,533,308
Institute for Public Affairs (In These Times) Yes $4,469,119 (excludes 2006, 2007) $558,640 -$114,532
Institute for Independent Media (Alternet) Yes $14,441,678 $1,444,168 $900,585

Figure 1. Grants, Gifts, Contributions, and Membership Fees of Select “Independent Progressive” Media or Media-Related Organizations 2001-2010 (unless otherwise noted). Based on 2001-2010 IRS Form 990s.

Bill Moyers’ Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, which funds The Nation Institute and online news organ Truthout, has net assets of $33,314,688, and brought in $3,471,682 in 2010 income.[13] Because these organizations assert under their 501c3 status that they have no overt political agenda, all income is untaxed.[14] Nor are they required to list the sources of their funding—even especially generous contributions. As the early 1990s grant figures for The Nation, The Progressive, In These Times, and Mother Jones suggest, nickel-and-dime contributions constitute a small percentage of such outlets’ overall “public” support.

Funding and Self-Censorship / Conclusion

Given the extent of foundation funding for left-progressive media, it is not surprising how such venues police themselves and proceed with the wishes of their wealthy benefactors in mind. As Croly observed concerning The New Republic, the Straights and Payne Whitneys “could always withdraw their financial support, if they ceased to approve of the policy of the paper; and in that event it would go out of existence as a consequence of their disapproval.”[15] Indeed, this is the left news media’s greatest fear.

In light of these dynamics and the big money at stake the progressive media’s censorial practices are understandable. At the same time self-censorship involves a fairly implicit set of social and behavioral processes. As Warren Breed discovered several decades ago, journalists’ socialization and workplace routinization constitute a process whereby newsworkers themselves internalize the mindset and wishes of their publishers, thereby making overt censorship unnecessary.[16] We may conclude that a similar process is in play when today’s “progressive” journalists and their editors share or accept many of the same interests, sentiments and expectations of those who hold the purse strings–and who would likely disapprove of attending to certain “controversial” or “conspiratorial” topics and issues.

With this in mind the foremost concern with such media is the uniform declaration of their “alternative” and “independent” missions–claims that are as problematic and misleading as Fox News’ “fair and balanced” mantle. A more appropriate (and honest) moniker for the foundation-funded press is a caveat emptor-style proclamation: “The following content is intended to impart the illusion of empowerment and dissent, yet can leave you uninformed of the most pressing issues of our time, in accordance with the wishes of our sponsors.”

Notes

*An important and unusual contribution toward understanding this largely-overlooked phenomenon was recently published by Project Censored. See John Pilger, “Censorship That Dares Not Speak Its Name: The Strange Silencing of Liberal America,” in Mickey Huff and Andy Lee Roth with Project Censored (editors), Censored 2014: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2012-2013, New York: Seven Stories Press, 2013, 287-296.

[1] On false flag terror see, for example, Daniele Ganser, NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe, New York: Routledge, 2005. On Fukushima see Fukushima: A Nuclear War without a War: The Ongoing Crisis of World Nuclear Radiation, ed. Michel Chossudovsky, Ottawa: Centre for Research on Globalization, January 25, 2012, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28870. For ongoing reportage see Enviroreporter.com. On Agenda 21 see Rachel Koire, Behind the Green Mask: UN Agenda 21, The Post-Sustainability Press, 2011. On geoengineering and weather modification see Project Censored 2012 Story #9, “Government Sponsored Technologies for Weather Modification,” Censored 2012: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2010-2011, New York: Seven Stories Press, 2011, 84-90, http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/9-government-sponsored-technologies-for-weather-modification/. On genetically modified organisms see Jeffrey M. Smith, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Modified Foods, White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green, 2007, and F. William Engdahl, Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation, Ottawa: Centre for Research on Globalization, 2007.

[2] Michel Chossudovsky, “Manufacturing Dissent: The Antiglobalization Movement is Funded by the Corporate Elites,” GlobalResearch.ca, September 20, 2011.

[3] Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World In Our Time, New York: MacMillan, 1966, 938.

[4] Ronald Steele, Walter Lippmann and the American Century, Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1980, 60. Payne Whitney would continue to fund the publication until 1953.

[5] Steele, Walter Lippmann and the American Century, 59.

[6] Herbert Croly, Willard Straight, New York: Macmillan & Company, 1924, 472.

[7] Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, 940.

[8] Croly, Willard Straight, 474.

[9] Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, 945-946.

[10] Michael Shuman, “Why do Progressive Foundations Give too Little to too Many?” The Nation, January 12, 1998, 11-16, The Nation ( January 12): 11–16. Available at http://www.tni.org/archives/act/2112

[11] Ron Curran 1997. “Buying the News.” San Francisco Bay Guardian, October 8, 1997. Cited in Bob Feldman, “Reports from the Field: Left Media and Left Think Tanks—Foundation Managed Protest,” Critical Sociology 33 (2007), 427-446. Available at www.irasilver.org/ wp-content/ uploads/ 2011/ 08/Reading-Foundations-Feldman.pdf

[12] Feldman, “Reports from the Field.”

[13] All tax-related information obtained through GuideStar, http://www2.guidestar.org/Home.aspx, and Foundation Center, http://foundationcenter.org/

[14] Progressive-left finger pointers such as Center for American Progress and Media Matters for America are similarly awash in foundation funding and require separate treatment.

[15] Croly, Willard Straight, 474.

[16] Warren Breed, “Social Control in the Newsroom: A Functional Analysis,” Social Forces, 33:4 (May 1955), 326-335. Available at https://umdrive.memphis.edu/cbrown14/public/Mass%20Comm%20Theory/Week%208%20Journalism%20Studies/Breed%201955.pdf

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David Cameron is heading for almost certain defeat in the Commons on Monday after he blew up cross-party talks on implementing the Leveson proposals for press regulation.

Instead the prime minister has scheduled a showdown vote in which MPs will be asked to support his alternative plan for a Royal Charter.

However both the Lib Dem and Labour leadership support the statutory underpinning of regulation as proposed by Leveson and as such Cameron does not have an obvious parliamentary majority on the issue.

Hacked Off called the failure to agree "a shameless betrayal of the victims of press abuse".

It is unclear whether Nick Clegg will tell his MPs to vote with Labour to defeat the Tory proposals, however it would be extremely awkward for the deputy prime minister to abandon his previous strong support for Leveson.

The outcome of the vote is made more uncertain as many Tory MPs are in favour of the Leveson plan, while some Labour MPs are opposed to it.

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In a hastily-arranged press conference in 10 Downing Street, Cameron announced that the cross-party talks had "concluded without agreement" after a conference call between himself, Clegg and Ed Miliband this morning.

He said that the proposals for an independent body, established by Royal Charter, to oversee the system of press self-regulation would provide "the toughest regulation of the press that this country has ever seen".


John Prescott
So Cameron has unwittingly turned Monday's Leveson vote into a confidence vote on his leadership. What could possibly go wrong? #mayday

Newspapers would refuse to sign up to a new system which is underpinned by statute, as recommended by Lord Justice Leveson and advocated by Labour, Lib Dems and the Hacked Off campaign group, he warned.

"The route I have set out is the fastest possible way to deliver the strong self-regulation body that Leveson proposed that can put in place million-pound fines, prominent apologises and get justice for victims in this country," said the prime minister.

"The deal is there to be done, it is the fastest way to get proper justice for victims."

And a senior Lib Dem source said that Cameron had made the decision to pull the plug on cross-party talks "unilaterally" and the Liberal Democrats were now considering their next step.

"We were very surprised and disappointed," said the source. "We thought we were making real progress and inching towards a deal, but the Prime Minister has unilaterally decided to pull the plug on cross-party talks.

"We are still prepared to work with politicians of all parties, including the Conservatives, who want to work with others to implement Leveson."

Asked whether Lib Dems would vote with Labour against the Royal Charter proposals on Monday, the source said: "We are going to have to talk about it and see what we do. Nothing has been agreed in government."

A senior Labour source said: "The prime minister's decision is very disappointing. We still hope for an agreement. We still believe there can be an agreement. We urge the Prime Minister to reflect on his actions."

Index on Censorship chief executive Kirsty Hughes backed the PM's move, and said he was right not to make a "shoddy compromise with Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband, which would have meant statutory underpinning of press regulation.

"A tough new independent regulator whether set up by Royal Charter, or preferably by a route with no political involvement at all, is a big step forward compared to the previous system of self-regulation.

"Cameron’s decision to go to a vote has clearly been forced by the threat of wrecking amendments being added into several bills, including one that is already threatening the passage of the Defamation Bill, which Leveson himself said should be kept separate from his work."

Professor Brian Cathcart, Executive Director, Hacked Off said Cameron had “chosen to throw his lot in with powerful national newspaper groups, whose actions were condemned in the Leveson Report.

“He allowed the newspapers to rewrite Leveson so much that they would have been able to pick and choose which complaints their self regulator dealt with and would have given the self regulator little power to tell a paper to give an apology or a correction due prominence.

“Worse than that, the editors would have been able to write their own rules and handpick the people who ran the regulator.

“Cameron is trying to raise a smokescreen to hide his dirty dealings behind closed doors with powerful press barons who don’t want to have to be accountable when their newspapers –to use Lord Justice Leveson’s words – ‘wreak havoc in the lives of innocent people’”.

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Iceland’s proposed porn ban ‘like repression in Iran, N. Korea’ — activists

Published time: March 01, 2013 14:39

AFP Photo

A group of 40 human rights activists from around the world fear that Iceland could become “a role model for Internet censorship” if it introduces Internet filters blocking online content deemed pornographic.

“The act of censoring pornography in Iceland differs in no way from repression of speech in Iran, China or North Korea,” human rights advocates wrote in an open letter to Icelandic Interior Minister Ögmundur Jónasson.

Activists from nearly 20 countries, including the UK, America, Austria and Finland, said that Iceland’s moral reasons for the push to censor Internet pornography is “justifying rather than condemning the actions of totalitarian regimes.”

Critics – including Jillian C. York, Director for International Freedom of Expression, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Sunil Abraham, Executive Director for India’s Internet and Society Center, and Ot van Daalen, head of the Dutch Bits of Freedom Center – have described the controversial measure as “an affront to basic principles of the society.”

They also argued that those advocating the Web porn ban have offered “no definition, no evidence, and suggested no technology.”

The authors of the letter warned that the prohibition of pornographic content could create demand for an underground porn industry, unregulated and most certainly affiliated with other illegal activities, “as we have seen in the case of drugs or alcohol prohibition. Hiding the problem is not a solution and may in fact make things worse.”

The solution, according to the activists, could be better sex education at home and schools: “Sex education that deals not only with conception, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases, but also relationships, communication and respect.”

Iceland, known for its feminist policies, could become the first Western country to censor online pornography, despite concerns over who will be given the authority to choose what is banned.

“It is tempting to regard filtering the Internet as a quick and easy way to restrict unwanted speech, opinions, or media, which the government regards as harmful for either them or the people,” the letter said. “The right to see the world as it is, is critical to the very tenets and functions of a democracy and must be protected at all costs.”

The activists claimed that it is technically impossible to censor the Internet without monitoring all telecommunications with automated machines: “This level of government surveillance directly conflicts with the idea of a free society.”

Iceland is not the only European country that has tried to implement such a ban. In December, the UK proposed blocking access to all pornographic websites, but UK ministers rejected the idea over a lack of public support.

According to supporters of the Icelandic ban, pornography has unquestionably damaging effects on both children and women.

"We have to be able to discuss a ban on violent pornography, which we all agree has a very harmful effects on young people and can have a clear link to incidences of violent crime,"
Interior Minister Jonasson, the author of the proposed ban, was quoted as saying.

While Iceland has already passed a law banning the distribution and printing of pornography, the proposed ban would eventually restrict access to pornographic websites in the country, and make it impossible to use Icelandic credit cards on X-rated sites.

US Among World Government’s Repressing Journalistic Freedoms

The imprisonment of journalists worldwide reached a record high in 2012, driven in part by the widespread use of charges of terrorism and other anti-state offenses against critical reporters and editors, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found.

A protester denounces anti-press violence in India. The United States government is strongly criticized for its suppression of journalistic freedoms in new report. (Photo: AP/Rajanish Kakade) In their accounting of the quality of press protections across the world, the CPJ's report, Attack on The Press: Journalism on the Front Lines, found an alarming international trend of government overreach and repression of journalistic freedoms with those in the United States not at all immune from the abuses of state power.

The report shows that 232 journalists found themselves behind bars because of their work in 2012, an increase of 53 from the previous year and the highest since CPJ launched its annual global study in 1990.

Specifically focusing on the US, the report found that under President Obama the government has been dangerously aggressive in its prosecution of government whistleblowers and harmful of press freedom by repeatedly blocking access to key information related to its anti-terrorism policies and what it terms "national security secrets."

As the report states:

The Obama administration continued to clamp down on officials who leak sensitive information to the news media. A former CIA officer pleaded guilty to criminal charges of leaking a covert operative's identity, effectively ending a legal battle by three journalists fighting government subpoenas to testify in the case. The director of national intelligence announced new rules to clamp down on leaks, and the Senate debated a bill that would further impede officials from sharing intelligence information with the press. In issues related to access, a military judge rejected a request by several media outlets to broadcast the Guantánamo Bay trial of suspects accused in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. And a number of news organizations appealed a military judicial decision to seal documents related to the court-martial of Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, who faced charges of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. Reporter James Risen, author Ed Moloney, and documentary filmmaker Ken Burns continued to fight subpoenas that would force them to turn over their unpublished reporting or testify in criminal investigations. Several journalists were arrested covering demonstrations linked to the Occupy movement.

Overall, as The Guardian's Roy Greenslade observes, the report "makes for depressing reading" for those supportive of a vital and free press.

Some of these key findings from the report explain why:

  • The 29.6 percent worldwide increase over 2011 was the largest percentage jump in a decade and the second consecutive annual increase of more than 20 percent. Imprisonments increased 23.4 percent from 2010 to 2011.
  • The number of journalists held on anti-state charges, 132, is the highest CPJ has recorded, although its proportion of the overall tally, about 57 percent, is consistent with surveys in recent years.
  • The use of retaliatory charges was the next most common tactic among cases in which charges were publicly disclosed. Nineteen journalists faced such charges worldwide.
  • Seven journalists were being held on charges of engaging in ethnic or religious "insult," and six others were jailed on criminal defamation allegations. Violations of censorship statutes were cited in three cases, while charges of disseminating "false news" were lodged in two instances.
  • The overwhelming majority of the detainees are local journalists being held by their own governments. Three foreign journalists were imprisoned worldwide, CPJ's survey found.
  • Online and print media journalists constituted the two largest professional groups on CPJ's census. Among other media, 24 television journalists, 12 radio reporters, and one documentary filmmaker were being held.
  • Eighty-five freelance journalists were in jail worldwide on December 1, constituting about 37 percent of the census. The proportion of freelance journalists, which had trended upward in recent years, dropped for the first time since 2006.

Iceland weighing ban on Internet pornography

Lock on computer keyboard

Lock on computer keyboard

Iceland could become the first Western country to censor online pornography with the introduction of radical internet filters that would block online content. Critics of the plan fear censorship, citing concerns over who will choose what to filter.

­Proponents of the ban claim that pornography has damaging effects on children and women. Icelandic Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson, the author of the proposed ban, said he believes it will help stop youth from viewing Internet pornography.

"We have to be able to discuss a ban on violent pornography, which we all agree has a very harmful effects on young people and can have a clear link to incidences of violent crime," Interior Minister Jonasson said.

The ban would block access to pornographic websites in Iceland, and make it impossible to use Icelandic credit cards on X-rated sites. Iceland has already passed a law that forbids the printing and distribution of pornography; the law excludes the Internet, however.

Experts have argued that there is domestic support for such a ban: "We have many experts from educationalists to the police and those who work with children behind this, that this has become much broader than party politics," political adviser Halla Gunnarsdottir told the Daily Mail.

“At the moment, we are looking at the best technical ways to achieve this,” Gunnarsdottir said. “But surely if we can send a man to the Moon, we must be able to tackle porn on the Internet.”

At such a scale and magnitude, Iceland’s online pornography censorship scheme would be the first of its kind for any European nation, Professor Gail Dines told the Telegraph: "It is looking at pornography from a new position – from the perspective of the harm it does to the women who appear in it and as a violation of their civil rights."

However, opponents of the ban have argued that such censorship is unfeasible.

"When you have a group of people who have the job of monitoring the network traffic and deciding what would be allowed and what won’t be increases the risk of non-pornography sites to be added to the list and blocked off,” explained Prostur Jonasson of Iceland’s Association of Digital Freedom.

The UK is the only other European country that has tried to implement a similar ban. It proposed blocking access to all pornography websites this past December, but UK ministers rejected the idea over a lack of public support.

Iceland is known for its pro-women policies, which may credit to country’s openly lesbian Prime Minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir.

In 2010, the country implemented a highly controversial ban on all strip clubs, arguing that they are harmful to women. The Scandinavian country also launched a consultation process in 2010 to investigate the effects of Internet pornography on women and children.

The study concluded that viewing violent online pornography increased the intensity of sex attacks, and that if children were exposed to such content at an early age, they displayed similar signs of trauma as those who had actually been abused, the Daily Mail reported.

Mehdi’s Morning Memo: The Horsemeat Summit

The ten things you need to know on Wednesday 13 February...

1) THE HORSEMEAT SUMMIT

"Now it's British horsemeat in burgers," screams the Daily Mail on its front page. The paper says:

"Meat from British horses was discovered in takeaway burgers and kebabs yesterday.

"The shocking find, which implicates the UK for the first time in the food fraud scandal, came during police raids in Yorkshire and West Wales.

"Environment Secretary Owen Paterson described the development as ‘utterly and totally disgraceful’ but pulled out of making an emergency statement to the House of Commons."

His opposite number, Labour's Mary Creagh said she wouldn't be buying mince of any kind for the moment: "Let's just say that I'm not very keen on mince at the moment, I think I know a bit too much now."

And you know you're in the middle of a crisis when our rulers start having 'summits'.

The BBC reports that "Environment Secretary Owen Paterson will travel to Brussels on Wednesday for a meeting of European countries linked to the horsemeat scandal.

"Ministers from the Irish Republic, France, Romania, Luxembourg, Sweden and Poland will attend."

I can't wait for the official picture of the French and Romanian ministers shaking hands...

2) NO POUND OF FLESH

From the Huffington Post:

"University graduate Cait Reilly has won her Court of Appeal claim that requiring her to work for free at a Poundland discount store was unlawful.

"Three judges in London ruled that the regulations under which most of the Government's back-to-work schemes were created are unlawful and quashed them. The Department for Work and Pensions has not been given leave to appeal, but has said that, regardless, it will appeal to the Supreme Court."

The papers are divided on straight left-right grounds - the Telegraph leader says: "Workfare can still do the job for Britain." The Guardian, however, pens an editorial "in praise of... Cait Reilly", noting: "[T]he point is that Whitehall had assumed a free hand in foisting arbitrary, harsh conditions on unemployed people. Cait Reilly has caught it out – for failing to play by the rules."

Writing in today's Sun, 'compassionate Conservative' Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, is defiant: "Let me be very clear — our back to work schemes are successful and are not slave labour." He adds: "I disagree with the part of the ruling that found against our regulations and we will appeal against that, but crucially the court did not find that anyone's humans rights have been breached because we asked them to do a work placement in return for Jobseeker's Allowance."

3) 'OUR GENERATION'S TASK'

The issue of in-work poverty isn't just a big issue in the UK - last night, President Obama decided to tackle the issue head-on during his State of the Union speech:

From the Huffington Post:

"President Barack Obama on Tuesday night laid out a vision for a society in which everyone has a fair shot at a decent education, adequate health care and a job that pays a living wage.

"'It is our generation's task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth -- a rising, thriving middle class,' said the president in the first State of the Union address of his second term. 'It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country -- the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, or who you love.'

"The president's most notable proposal was to raise the minimum wage from its current $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour."

Will George Osborne follow Obama's lead in the Budget next month? Two stats are always worth remembering: 1) the majority of the children living in poverty in Britain live in working, not workless, households, and 2) the UK's minimum wage is now worth less in real terms than it did in 2004.

4) WATERBOTTLEGATE

Obama may have been giving the SOTU speech, but all eyes were on the Republican 'rebuttal' - my US colleague Jon Ward reports on the speech from 41-year-old Florida senator Marco Rubio, who is one of the favourites for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination:

"In his remarks, Rubio hit two things hard: stereotypes of conservatives, and the president. He came out against the former stronger than the latter, devoting an entire passage to rebutting the charge that Republicans want to protect the rich from higher taxes, and another to making clear his devotion to Medicare, in an attempt to stake out a politically viable position on entitlement reform."

Amusingly, Ward adds:

"The media-savvy Republican got favorable reviews, but his night was almost derailed by a bottle of water. When Rubio came to the 10-minute mark in his 14-minute speech, he paused, looked down and to his left, and then looked back at the camera as he bent and reached for a small Poland Spring bottle. For a few brief, excruciating seconds, Rubio took a sip of the water as he looked directly into the camera, and then put it quickly down and resumed speaking.

"Twitter exploded. Video of the moment was quickly posted, Democratic operatives cackled, and journalists complained about the volume of chatter about Rubio's thirst."

5) LEGISLATING FOR LEVESON

David Cameron's plans for a Royal Charter to regulate the press may be nowhere near as tough as the system recommended by Lord Justice Leveson but, according to a story on the front of today's Independent, a 'compromise' deal is close:

"Parts of David Cameron's blueprint to regulate the press could breach European law, the newspaper industry warned yesterday, as his plan to implement the Leveson Report was attacked from all sides.

"But despite criticism from Labour and the Liberal Democrats, some sources suggested the compromise was still possible with all-party talks due to begin tomorrow."

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR...

Off the back of Obama's State of the Union last night, why not re-watch this classic video of the US president slow-jamming the news on Jimmy Fallon's late-night show from April 2012?

6) EYE ON EASTLEIGH

From the Guardian:

"As the author of a seminal account of an activist's life during Labour's 'wilderness years', and later as a writer of jokes for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, John O'Farrell has been cheering up the party's rank-and file for decades as the self-deprecating chronicler of middle class, left-wing angst.

"But after local members in Eastleigh last night selected him to be the party's candidate in the upcoming byelection, the comedy writer was settling down for the challenge of capturing the south-coast seat - although not quite immediately.

"'There is a great deal of hard work ahead. But first I am going to the pub,' he tweeted immediately after news emerged of his official selection over two other Labour members."

O'Farrell won't win in Eastleigh - where the two coalition parties are slugging it out for the top spot - and, thankfully, nor will Ukip's Diane James, who is reported to have said yesterday that all immigration into the UK should be halted in order to prevent Romanians from coming to the country and committing crimes here. Who says Ukip are a bunch of bigots, eh?

7) CLEGG THE CREDIT TAKER

Whatever happens to the Lib Dems in Eastleigh, for now, their leader continues be mauled by the papers - from the Telegraph front page:

Nick Clegg has been ridiculed after he appeared to claim credit for his part in securing a cut in the European Union budget.

Mr Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, last year claimed that Conservatives who wanted a budget cut had 'absolutely no hope'.

"At his weekly Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions session in the Commons yesterday, however, Mr Clegg claimed that he had spent 'months making the case for the tough approach' adopted by David Cameron in Brussels last week.
Tory backbenchers have described Mr Clegg’s comments as 'ludicrous and implausible'.

8) CASH-FOR-ACADEMIES

Ever wondered why so many schools are so keen to become academies? The Independent this morning splashes on news that

"Officials from Michael Gove's department are offering £65,000 'bribes' to convince reluctant headteachers to convert their schools to academies.

"The sweeteners are being offered to schools which drop their opposition to academy status – sparking claims that taxpayers' money is being spent on "buying off" critics of the Education Secretary's pet project."

Follow, as they say, the money...

9) 'GET OFF OUR PLANES'

To those of you who think Islamophobia is a myth, meet New Zealand MP Richard Prosser - from the Huffington Post:

"A New Zealand politician who sparked condemnation for suggesting Muslim men should be banned on Western airlines will not stand down.

"Writing in his column in Investigate Magazine, First Leader Richard Prosser said: 'If you are a young male, aged between say about 19 and about 35, and you're a Muslim, or you look like a Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you are not welcome to travel on any of the West's airlines.'

"Labelling Islam a 'stone age religion', and claiming most terrorists are 'angry young Muslim men who hate the West', Prosser added: 'I will not stand by while my daughters' rights and freedoms, and those of other New Zealanders and Westerners, are denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from 'Wogistan'.'"

Charming.

10) 'POLITICALLY CORRECT CENSORSHIP'

From the Telegraph:

"The BBC has been criticised as 'Stalinist' and 'politically correct' for allegedly trying to play down Harold Wilson’s pipe smoking in a five hour television special tomorrow night.

"However, Lord Donoughue, a former right hand man to Mr Wilson in Number 10, claimed that producers had been told to downplay Mr Wilson’s pipe smoking.

"Describing it as 'Stalinist', he said: 'Is the licence payers money being paid for these people. It is censorship – politically correct censorship. How many people do they have monitoring politically correct behaviour?'"

Donoughue adds: “He didn’t smoke it much in private. It was not always lit because he had to put it away in his pocket.

“If he was being interviewed or questioned, the moment he was asked a difficult question he would take out his lighter and light the pipe to give him time to think of an answer.”

QUOTE UNQUOTE

"The position is this. One of the most powerful, talented, intelligent and trusted women in the country wishes you to think that when she took some points for her husband in 2003 she had no real choice in doing so. It is the prosecution's function, if they can, to disprove that before she can be convicted." - Andrew Edis QC, who is prosecuting the Vicky Pryce case at Southwark Crown Court, giving his closing speech yesterday.

PUBLIC OPINION WATCH

From the Sun/YouGov poll:

Labour 43
Conservatives 32
Lib Dems 10
Ukip 9

That would give Labour a majority of 116.

140 CHARACTERS OR LESS

@LizMair: [email protected] asks what Republicans want to hear in #SOTU. My guess: "I'm resigning and handing this job off to a stealthily preserved Reagan."

@EJDionne Poor Marco Rubio: It was the gulp that roared. TV can be a cruel medium #sotu

@ShippersUnbound Don't understand the fuss over food. I love Haggis and I definitely don't want to know what goes into that...

900 WORDS OR MORE

Seumas Milne, writing in the Guardian, says: "Michael Gove is not just a bungler, he's a destructive ideologue."

Mary Riddell, writing in the Telegraph, says: "Ed Miliband can draw a line under the Labour Party’s war by opposing plans for secret courts."

Martin Wolf, writing in the FT, makes the "case for helicopter money".


Got something you want to share? Please send any stories/tips/quotes/pix/plugs/gossip to Mehdi Hasan ([email protected]) or Ned Simons ([email protected]). You can also follow us on Twitter: @mehdirhasan, @nedsimons and @huffpostukpol

On BDS, Academic Freedom and Democracy at Brooklyn College

Editors Note: Despite a campaign to silence them, philsophers Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti spoke at Brooklyn College last week. In an exclusive, The Nation presents the text of Butler's remarks.

Usually one starts by saying that one is glad to be here, but I cannot say that it has been a pleasure anticipating this event. What a Megillah! I am, of course, glad that the event was not cancelled, and I understand that it took a great deal of courage and a steadfast embrace of principle for this event to happen at all. I would like personally to thank all those who took this opportunity to reaffirm the fundamental principles of academic freedom, including the following organizations: the Modern Language Association, the National Lawyers Guild, the New York ACLU, the American Association of University Professors, the Professional Staff Congress (the union for faculty and staff in the CUNY system), the New York Times editorial team, the offices of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Brooklyn College President Karen Gould whose principled stand on academic freedom has been exemplary.Brooklyn College students protest in support of the upcoming BDS forum at their school. Some elected officials threatened to cut the college’s public funding if the event proceeded. The mayor said he can't think of anything "more destructive to a university and its students" than basing school funding on the political views of professors. (Photo: Reuven Blau/New York Daily News)

The principle of academic freedom is designed to make sure that powers outside the university, including government and corporations, are not able to control the curriculum or intervene in extra-mural speech. It not only bars such interventions, but it also protects those platforms in which we might be able to reflect together on the most difficult problems. You can judge for yourself whether or not my reasons for lending my support to this movement are good ones.   That is, after all, what academic debate is about. It is also what democratic debate is about, which suggests that open debate about difficult topics functions as a meeting point between democracy and the academy. Instead of asking right away whether we are for or against this movement, perhaps we can pause just long enough to find out what exactly this is, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and why it is so difficult to speak about this.

I am not asking anyone to join a movement this evening. I am not even a leader of this movement or part of any of its governing committee, even though the New York Times tried to anoint me the other day—I appreciated their subsequent retraction, and I apologize to my Palestinian colleagues for their error. The movement, in fact, has been organized and led by Palestinians seeking rights of political self-determination, including Omar Barghouti, who was invited first by the Students for Justice in Palestine, after which I was invited to join him. At the time I thought it would be very much like other events I have attended, a conversation with a few dozen student activists in the basement of a student center. So, as you can see, I am surprised and ill-prepared for what has happened.

Omar will speak in a moment about what the BDS movement is, its successes and its aspirations. But I would like briefly to continue with the question, what precisely are we doing here this evening? I presume that you came to hear what there is to be said, and so to test your preconceptions against what some people have to say, to see whether your objections can be met and your questions answered. In other words, you come here to exercise critical judgment, and if the arguments you hear are not convincing, you will be able to cite them, to develop your opposing view and to communicate that as you wish. In this way, your being here this evening confirms your right to form and communicate an autonomous judgment, to demonstrate why you think something is true or not, and you should be free to do this without coercion and fear. These are your rights of free expression, but they are, perhaps even more importantly, your rights to education, which involves the freedom to hear, to read and to consider any number of viewpoints as part of an ongoing public deliberation on this issue. Your presence here, even your support for the event, does not assume agreement among us. There is no unanimity of opinion here; indeed, achieving unanimity is not the goal.

The arguments made against this very meeting took several forms, and they were not always easy for me to parse. One argument was that BDS is a form of hate speech, and it spawned a set of variations: it is hate speech directed against either the State of Israel or Israeli Jews, or all Jewish people. If BDS is hate speech, then it is surely not protected speech, and it would surely not be appropriate for any institution of higher learning to sponsor or make room for such speech. Yet another objection, sometimes uttered by the same people who made the first, is that BDS does qualify as a viewpoint, but as such, ought to be presented only in a context in which the opposing viewpoint can be heard as well. There was yet a qualification to this last position, namely, that no one can have a conversation on this issue in the US that does not include a certain Harvard professor, but that spectacular argument was so self-inflationary and self-indicting, that I could only respond with astonishment.

So in the first case, it is not a viewpoint (and so not protected as extra-mural speech), but in the second instance, it is a viewpoint, presumably singular, but cannot be allowed to be heard without an immediate refutation. The contradiction is clear, but when people engage in a quick succession of contradictory claims such as these, it is usually because they are looking for whatever artillery they have at their disposal to stop something from happening. They don’t much care about consistency or plausibility. They fear that if the speech is sponsored by an institution such as Brooklyn College, it will not only be heard, but become hearable, admitted into the audible world. The fear is that viewpoint will become legitimate, which means only that someone can publicly hold such a view and that it becomes eligible for contestation. A legitimate view is not necessarily right, but it is not ruled out in advance as hate speech or injurious conduct. Those who did not want any of these words to become sayable and audible imagined that the world they know and value will come to an end if such words are uttered, as if the words themselves will rise off the page or fly out of the mouth as weapons that will injure, maim or even kill, leading to irreversibly catastrophic consequences. This is why some people claimed that if this event were held, the two-state solution would be imperiled—they attributed great efficacy to these words. And yet others said it would lead to the coming of a second Holocaust—an unimaginable remark to which I will nevettheless return. One might say that all of these claims were obvious hyperbole and should be dismissed as such. But it is important to understand that they are wielded for the purpose of intimidation, animating the spectre of traumatic identification with the Nazi oppressor: if you let these people speak, you yourself will be responsible for heinous crimes or for the destruction of a state, or the Jewish people. If you listen to the words, you will become complicit in war crimes.

And yet all of us here have to distinguish between the right to listen to a point of view and the right to concur or dissent from that point of view; otherwise, public discourse is destroyed by censorship. I wonder, what is the fantasy of speech nursed by the censor? There must be enormous fear behind the drive to censorship, but also enormous aggression, as if we were all in a war where speech has suddenly become artillery. Is there another way to approach language and speech as we think about this issue? Is it possible that some other use of words might forestall violence, bring about a general ethos of non-violence, and so enact, and open onto, the conditions for a public discourse that welcomes and shelters disagreement, even disarray?

The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement is, in fact, a non-violent movement; it seeks to use established legal means to achieve its goals; and it is, interestingly enough, the largest Palestinian civic movement at this time. That means that the largest Palestinian civic movement is a non-violent one that justifies its actions through recourse to international law. Further, I want to underscore that this is also a movement whose stated core principles include the opposition to every form of racism, including both state-sponsored racism and anti-Semitism. Of course, we can debate what anti-Semitism is, in what social and political forms it is found. I myself am sure that the election of self-identified national socialists to the Greek parliament is a clear sign of anti-Semitism; I am sure that the recirculation of Nazi insignia and rhetoric by the National Party of Germany is a clear sign of anti-Semitism. I am also sure that the rhetoric and actions of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are often explicitly anti-Semitic, and that some forms of Palestinian opposition to Israel do rely on anti-Semitic slogans, falsehoods and threats. All of these forms of anti-Semitism are to be unconditionally opposed. And I would add, they have to be opposed in the same way and with the same tenacity that any form of racism has to be opposed, including state racism.

But still, it is left to us to ask, why would a non-violent movement to achieve basic political rights for Palestinians be understood as anti-Semitic? Surely, there is nothing about the basic rights themselves that constitute a problem. They include equal rights of citizenship for current inhabitants; the end to the occupation, and the rights of unlawfully displaced persons to return to their lands and gain restitution for their losses. We will surely speak about each of these three principles this evening. But for now, I want to ask, why would a collective struggle to use economic and cultural forms of power to compel the enforcement of international laws be considered anti-Semitic? It would be odd to say that they are anti-Semitic to honor internationally recognized rights to equality, to be free of occupation and to have unlawfully appropriated land and property restored. I know that this last principle makes many people uneasy, but there are several ways of conceptualizing how the right of return might be exercised lawfully such that it does not entail further dispossession (and we will return to this issue).

For those who say that exercising internationally recognized rights is anti-Semitic, or becomes anti-Semitic in this context, they must mean either that a) its motivation is anti-Semitic or b) its effects are anti-Semitic. I take it that no one is actually saying that the rights themselves are anti-Semitic, since they have been invoked by many populations in the last decades, including Jewish people dispossessed and displaced in the aftermath of the second world war. Is there really any reason we should not assume that Jews, just like any other people, would prefer to live in a world where such internationally recognized rights are honored? It will not do to say that international law is the enemy of the Jewish people, since the Jewish people surely did not as a whole oppose the Nuremburg trials, or the development of human rights law. In fact, there have always been Jews working alongside non-Jews—not only to establish the courts and codes of international law, but in the struggle to dismantle colonial regimes, opposing any and all legal and military powers that seek systematically to undermine the conditions of political self-determination for any population.

Only if we accept the proposition that the state of Israel is the exclusive and legitimate representative of the Jewish people would a movement calling for divestment, sanctions and boycott against that state be understood as directed against the Jewish people as a whole. Israel would then be understood as co-extensive with the Jewish people. There are two major problems with this view. First, the state of Israel does not represent all Jews, and not all Jews understand themselves as represented by the state of Israel. Secondly, the state of Israel should be representing all of its population equally, regardless of whether or not they are Jewish, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.

So the first critical and normative claim that follows is that the state of Israel should be representing the diversity of its own population. Indeed, nearly 25 percent of Israel’s population is not Jewish, and most of those are Palestinian, although some of them are Bedouins and Druze. If Israel is to be considered a democracy, the non-Jewish population deserves equal rights under the law, as do the Mizrachim (Arab Jews) who represent over 30 percent of the population. Presently, there are at least twenty laws that privilege Jews over Arabs within the Israeli legal system. The 1950 Law of Return grants automatic citizenship rights to Jews from anywhere in the world upon request, while denying that same right to Palestinians who were forcibly dispossessed of their homes in 1948 or subsequently as the result of illegal settlements and redrawn borders. Human Rights Watch has compiled an extensive study of Israel's policy of "separate, not equal" schools for Palestinian children. Moreover, as many as 100 Palestinian villages in Israel are still not recognized by the Israeli government, lacking basic services (water, electricity, sanitation, roads, etc.) from the government. Palestinians are barred from military service, and yet access to housing and education still largely depends on military status. Families are divided by the separation wall between the West Bank and Israel, with few forms of legal recourse to rights of visitation and reunification. The Knesset debates the “transfer” of the Palestinian population to the West Bank, and the new loyalty oath requires that anyone who wishes to become a citizen pledge allegiance to Israel as Jewish and democratic, thus eliding once again the non-Jewish population and binding the full population to a specific and controversial, if not contradictory, version of democracy.

The second point, to repeat, is that the Jewish people extend beyond the state of Israel and the ideology of political Zionism. The two cannot be equated. Honestly, what can really be said about “the Jewish people” as a whole? Is it not a lamentable sterotype to make large generalizations about all Jews, and to presume they all share the same political commitments? They—or, rather, we—occupy a vast spectrum of political views, some of which are unconditionally supportive of the state of Israel, some of which are conditionally supportive, some are skeptical, some are exceedingly critical, and an increasing number, if we are to believe the polls in this country, are indifferent. In my view, we have to remain critical of anyone who posits a single norm that decides rights of entry into the social or cultural category determining as well who will be excluded. Most categories of identity are fraught with conflicts and ambiguities; the effort to suppress the complexity of the category of “Jewish” is thus a political move that seeks to yoke a cultural identity to a specific Zionist position. If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered to be anti-Semitic, if any number of internationals who have joined thus struggle from various parts of the world are also considered anti-Semitic and if Palestinians seeking rights of political self-determination are so accused as well, then it would appear that no oppositional move that can take place without risking the accusation of anti-Semitism. That accusation becomes a way of discrediting a bid for self-determination, at which point we have to ask what political purpose the radical mis-use of that accusation has assumed in the stifling of a movement for political self-determination.

When Zionism becomes co-extensive with Jewishness, Jewishness is pitted against the diversity that defines democracy, and if I may say so, betrays one of the most important ethical dimensions of the diasporic Jewish tradition, namely, the obligation of co-habitation with those different from ourselves. Indeed, such a conflation denies the Jewish role in broad alliances in the historical struggle for social and political justice in unions, political demands for free speech, in socialist communities, in the resistance movement in World War II, in peace activism, the Civil Rights movement and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. It also demeans the important struggles in which Jews and Palestinians work together to stop the wall, to rebuild homes, to document indefinite detention, to oppose military harassment at the borders and to oppose the occupation and to imagine the plausible scenarios for the Palestinian right to return.

The point of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is to withdraw funds and support from major financial and cultural institutions that support the operations of the Israeli state and its military. The withdrawal of investments from companies that actively support the military or that build on occupied lands, the refusal to buy products that are made by companies on occupied lands, the withdrawal of funds from investment accounts that support any of these activities, a message that a growing number of people in the international community will not be complicit with the occupation. For this goal to be realized, it matters that there is a difference between those who carry Israeli passports and the state of Israel, since the boycott is directed only toward the latter. BDS focuses on state agencies and corporations that build machinery designed to destroy homes, that build military materiel that targets populations, that profit from the occupation, that are situated illegally on Palestinian lands, to name a few.

BDS does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their national citizenship. I concede that not all versions of BDS have been consistent on this point in the past, but the present policy confirms this principle. I myself oppose any form of BDS that discriminates against individuals on the basis of their citizenship. Others may interpret the boycott differently, but I have no problem collaborating with Israeli scholars and artists as long as we do not participate in any Israeli institution or have Israeli state monies support our collaborative work. The reason, of course, is that the academic and cultural boycott seeks to put pressure on all those cultural institutions that have failed to oppose the occupation and struggle for equal rights and the rights of the dispossessed, all those cultural institutions that think it is not their place to criticize their government for these practices, all of them that understand themselves to be above or beyond this intractable political condition. In this sense, they do contribute to an unacceptable status quo. And those institutions should know why international artists and scholars refuse to come when they do, just as they also need to know the conditions under which people will come. When those cultural institutions (universities, art centers, festivals) were to take such a stand, that would be the beginning of the end of the boycott (let’s remember that the goal of any boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is to become obsolete and unnecessary; once conditions of equality and justice are achieved, the rationale for BDS falls away, and in this sense achieving the just conditions for the dissolution of the movement is its very aim).

In some ways, the argument between BDS and its opponents centers on the status of international law. Which international laws are to be honored, and how can they be enforced. International law cannot solve every political conflict, but political conflicts that fully disregard international law usually only get worse as a result. We know that the government of the state of Israel has voiced its skepticism about international law, repeatedly criticizing the United Nations as a biased institution, even bombing its offices in Gaza. Israel also became the first country to withhold cooperation from a UN review of its human rights practices scheduled last week in Geneva (New York Times, 1/29/13). I think it is fair to call this a boycott of the UN on the part of the state of Israel. Indeed, one hears criticism of the ineffectiveness of the UN on both sides, but is that a reason to give up on the global human rights process altogether? There are good reasons to criticize the human rights paradigm, to be sure, but for now, I am only seeking to make the case that BDS is not a destructive or hateful movement. It appeals to international law precisely under conditions in which the international community, the United Nations included, neighboring Arab states, human rights courts, the European Union, The United States and the UK, have all failed effectively to rectify the manifest injustices in Palestine. Boycott, divestment and the call for sanctions are popular demands that emerge precisely when the international community has failed to compel a state to abide by its own norms.

Let us consider, then, go back to the right of return, which constitutes the controversial third prong of the BDS platform. The law of return is extended to all of us who are Jewish who live in the diaspora, which means that were it not for my politics, I too would be eligible to become a citizen of that state. At the same time, Palestinians in need of the right of return are denied the same rights? If someone answers that “Jewish demographic advantage” must be maintained, one can query whether Jewish demographic advantage is policy that can ever be reconciled with democratic principles. If one responds to that with “the Jews will only be safe if they retain their majority status,” the response has to be that any state will surely engender an opposition movement when it seeks to maintain a permanent and disenfranchised minority within its borders, fails to offer reparation or return to a population driven from their lands and homes, keeps over four million people under occupation without rights of mobility, due process and political self-determination, and another 1.6 million under siege in Gaza, rationing of food, administering unemployment, blocking building materials to restore bombed homes and institutions, intensifying vulnerability to military bombardment resulting in widespread injury and death.

If we conclude that those who participate in such an opposition movement do so because they hate the Jews, we have surely failed to recognize that this is an opposition to oppression, to the multi-faceted dimensions of a militarized form of settler colonialism that has entailed subordination, occupation and dispossession. Any group would oppose that condition, and the state that maintains it, regardless of whether that state is identified as a Jewish state or any other kind. Resistance movements do not discriminate against oppressors, though sometimes the language of the movement can use discriminatory language, and that has to be opposed. However, it is surely cynical to claim that the only reason a group organizes to oppose its own oppression is that it bears an inexplicable prejudice or racist hatred against those who oppress them. We can see the torque of this argument and the absurd conclusions to which it leads: if the Palestinians did not hate the Jews, they would accept their oppression by the state of Israel! If they resist, it is a sign of anti-Semitism!

This kind of logic takes us to one of the traumatic and affective regions of this conflict. There are reasons why much of the global media and prevailing political discourses cannot accept that a legitimate opposition to inequality, occupation, and dispossession is very different from anti-Semitism. After all, we cannot rightly argue that if a state claiming to represent the Jewish people engages in these manifestly illegal activities, it is therefore justified on the grounds that the Jews have suffered atrociously and therefore have special needs to be exempt from international norms. Such illegal acts are never justified, no matter who is practicing them.

At the same time, one must object to some of the language used by Hamas to refer to the state of Israel, where very often the state of Israel is itself conflated with the Jews, and where the actions of the state reflect on the nature of the Jews. This is clearly anti-Semitism and must be opposed. But BDS is not the same as Hamas, and it is simply ignorant to argue that all Palestinian organizations are the same. In the same vein, those who wrote to me recently to say that BDS is the same as Hamas is the same as the Nazis are involved in fearful and aggressive forms of association that assume that any effort to make distinctions is naïve and foolish. And so we see how the conflations such as these lead to bitter and destructive consequences. What if we slowed down enough to think and to distinguish—what political possibilities might then open?

And it brings us to yet another outcry that we heard in advance of our discussion here this evening. That was BDS is the coming of a second holocaust. I believe we have to be very careful when anyone makes use of the Holocaust in this way and for this purpose, since if the term becomes a weapon by which we seek to stigmatize those with opposing political viewpoints, then we have first of all dishonored the slaughter of over 6 million Jewish people, and another 4 million gypsies, gay people, disabled, the communists and the physically and mentally ill. All of us, Jewish or not Jewish, must keep that historical memory intact and alive, and refuse forms of revisionism and political exploitation of that history. We may not exploit and re-ignite the traumatic dimension of Hitler’s atrocities for the purposes of accusing and silencing those with opposing political viewpoints, including legitimate criticisms of the state of Israel. Such a tactic not only demeans and instrumentalizes the memory of the Nazi genocide, but produces a general cynicism about both accusations of anti-Semitism and predictions of new genocidal possibilities. After all, if those terms are bandied about as so much artillery in a war, then they are used as blunt instruments for the purposes of censorship and self-legitimation, and they no longer name and describe the very hideous political realities to which they belong. The more such accusations and invocations are tactically deployed, the more skeptical and cynical the public becomes about their actual meaning and use. This is a violation of that history, an insult to the surviving generation, and a cynical and excited recirculation of traumatic material—a kind of sadistic spree, to put it bluntly—that seeks to defend and legitimate a very highly militarized and repressive state regime. Of the use of the Holocaust to legitimate Israeli military destructiveness, Primo Levi wrote in 1982, “I deny any validity to [the use of the Holocaust for] this defence.”

We have heard in recent days as well that BDS threatens the attempt to establish a two-state solution. Although many people who support BDS are in favor of a one-state solution, the BDS movement has not taken a stand on this explicitly, and includes signatories who differ from one another on this issue. In fact, the BDS committee, formed in 2005 with the support of over 170 organizations in Palestine, does not take any stand on the one state or two state solution. It describes itself as an “anti-normalization” politics that seeks to force a wide range of political institutions and states to stop compliance with the occupation, unequal treatment and dispossession. For the BDS National Committee, it is not the fundamental structure of the state of Israel that is called into question, but the occupation, its denial of basic human rights, its abrogation of international law (including its failure to honor the rights of refugees), and the brutality of its continuing conditions—harassment, humiliation, destruction and confiscation of property, bombardment, and killing. Indeed, one finds an array of opinions on one-state and two-state, especially now that one-state can turn into Greater Israel with separated Bantustans of Palestinian life. The two-state solution brings its own problems, given that the recent proposals tend to suspend the rights of refugees, accept curtailed borders and fail to show whether the establishment of an independent state will bring to an end the ongoing practices and institutions of occupation, or simply incorporate them into its structure. How can a state be built with so many settlements, all illegal, which are expected to bring the Israeli population in Palestine to nearly one million of its four million inhabitants. Many have argued that it is the rapidly increasing settler population in the West Bank, not BDS, that is forcing the one-state solution.

Some people accept divestment without sanctions, or divestment and sanctions without the boycott. There are an array of views. In my view, the reason to hold together all three terms is simply that it is not possible to restrict the problem of Palestinian subjugation to the occupation alone. It is significant in itself, since four million people are living without rights of mobility, sovereignty, control over their borders, trade and political self-determination, subjected to military raids, indefinite detention, extended imprisonment and harassment. However, if we fail to make the link between occupation, inequality and dispossession, we agree to forget the claims of 1948, bury the right to return. We overlook the structural link between the Israeli demand for demographic advantage and the multivalent forms of dispossession that affect Palestinians who have been forced to become diasporic, those who live with partial rights within the borders, and those who live under occupation in the West Bank or in the open air prison of Gaza (with high unemployment and rationed foods) or other refugee camps in the region.

Some people have said that they value co-existence over boycott, and wish to engage in smaller forms of binational cultural communities in which Israeli Jews and Palestinians live and work together. This is a view that holds to the promise that small organic communities have a way of expanding into ever widening circles of solidarity, modeling the conditions for peaceable co-existence. The only question is whether those small communities continue to accept the oppressive structure of the state, or whether in their small and effective way oppose the various dimensions of continuing subjugation and disenfranchisement. If they do the latter, they become solidarity struggles. So co-existence becomes solidarity when it joins the movement that seeks to undo the structural conditions of inequality, containment and dispossession. So perhaps the conditions of BDS solidarity are precisely what prefigure that form of living and working together that might one day become a just and peaceable form of co-existence.

One could be for the BDS movement as the only credible non-violent mode of resisting the injustices committed by the state of Israel without falling into the football lingo of being “pro” Palestine and “anti” Israel. This language is reductive, if not embarrassing. One might reasonably and passionately be concerned for all the inhabitants of that land, and simply maintain that the future for any peaceful, democratic solution for that region will become thinkable through the dismantling of the occupation, through enacting the equal rights of Palestinian minorities and finding just and plausible ways for the rights of refugees to be honored. If one holds out for these three aims in political life, then one is not simply living within the logic of the “pro” and the “anti”, but trying to fathom the conditions for a “we”, a plural existence grounded in equality. What does one do with one’s words but reach for a place beyond war, ask for a new constellation of political life in which the relations of colonial subjugation are brought to a halt. My wager, my hope, is that everyone’s chance to live with greater freedom from fear and aggression will be increased as those conditions of justice, freedom, and equality are realized. We can or, rather, must start with how we speak, and how we listen, with the right to education, and to dwell critically, fractiously, and freely in political discourse together. Perhaps the word “justice” will assume new meanings as we speak it, such that we can venture that what will be just for the Jews will also be just for the Palestinians, and for all the other people living there, since justice, when just, fails to discriminate, and we savor that failure.

© 2012 The Nation

Judith Butler

Judith Butler is a professor in the Rhetoric and Comparative Literature department at UC Berkeley. She is the author of several books on feminist theory, continental philosophy and contemporary politics.

On BDS, Academic Freedom and Democracy at Brooklyn College

Editors Note: Despite a campaign to silence them, philsophers Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti spoke at Brooklyn College last week. In an exclusive, The Nation presents the text of Butler's remarks.

Usually one starts by saying that one is glad to be here, but I cannot say that it has been a pleasure anticipating this event. What a Megillah! I am, of course, glad that the event was not cancelled, and I understand that it took a great deal of courage and a steadfast embrace of principle for this event to happen at all. I would like personally to thank all those who took this opportunity to reaffirm the fundamental principles of academic freedom, including the following organizations: the Modern Language Association, the National Lawyers Guild, the New York ACLU, the American Association of University Professors, the Professional Staff Congress (the union for faculty and staff in the CUNY system), the New York Times editorial team, the offices of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Brooklyn College President Karen Gould whose principled stand on academic freedom has been exemplary.Brooklyn College students protest in support of the upcoming BDS forum at their school. Some elected officials threatened to cut the college’s public funding if the event proceeded. The mayor said he can't think of anything "more destructive to a university and its students" than basing school funding on the political views of professors. (Photo: Reuven Blau/New York Daily News)

The principle of academic freedom is designed to make sure that powers outside the university, including government and corporations, are not able to control the curriculum or intervene in extra-mural speech. It not only bars such interventions, but it also protects those platforms in which we might be able to reflect together on the most difficult problems. You can judge for yourself whether or not my reasons for lending my support to this movement are good ones.   That is, after all, what academic debate is about. It is also what democratic debate is about, which suggests that open debate about difficult topics functions as a meeting point between democracy and the academy. Instead of asking right away whether we are for or against this movement, perhaps we can pause just long enough to find out what exactly this is, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and why it is so difficult to speak about this.

I am not asking anyone to join a movement this evening. I am not even a leader of this movement or part of any of its governing committee, even though the New York Times tried to anoint me the other day—I appreciated their subsequent retraction, and I apologize to my Palestinian colleagues for their error. The movement, in fact, has been organized and led by Palestinians seeking rights of political self-determination, including Omar Barghouti, who was invited first by the Students for Justice in Palestine, after which I was invited to join him. At the time I thought it would be very much like other events I have attended, a conversation with a few dozen student activists in the basement of a student center. So, as you can see, I am surprised and ill-prepared for what has happened.

Omar will speak in a moment about what the BDS movement is, its successes and its aspirations. But I would like briefly to continue with the question, what precisely are we doing here this evening? I presume that you came to hear what there is to be said, and so to test your preconceptions against what some people have to say, to see whether your objections can be met and your questions answered. In other words, you come here to exercise critical judgment, and if the arguments you hear are not convincing, you will be able to cite them, to develop your opposing view and to communicate that as you wish. In this way, your being here this evening confirms your right to form and communicate an autonomous judgment, to demonstrate why you think something is true or not, and you should be free to do this without coercion and fear. These are your rights of free expression, but they are, perhaps even more importantly, your rights to education, which involves the freedom to hear, to read and to consider any number of viewpoints as part of an ongoing public deliberation on this issue. Your presence here, even your support for the event, does not assume agreement among us. There is no unanimity of opinion here; indeed, achieving unanimity is not the goal.

The arguments made against this very meeting took several forms, and they were not always easy for me to parse. One argument was that BDS is a form of hate speech, and it spawned a set of variations: it is hate speech directed against either the State of Israel or Israeli Jews, or all Jewish people. If BDS is hate speech, then it is surely not protected speech, and it would surely not be appropriate for any institution of higher learning to sponsor or make room for such speech. Yet another objection, sometimes uttered by the same people who made the first, is that BDS does qualify as a viewpoint, but as such, ought to be presented only in a context in which the opposing viewpoint can be heard as well. There was yet a qualification to this last position, namely, that no one can have a conversation on this issue in the US that does not include a certain Harvard professor, but that spectacular argument was so self-inflationary and self-indicting, that I could only respond with astonishment.

So in the first case, it is not a viewpoint (and so not protected as extra-mural speech), but in the second instance, it is a viewpoint, presumably singular, but cannot be allowed to be heard without an immediate refutation. The contradiction is clear, but when people engage in a quick succession of contradictory claims such as these, it is usually because they are looking for whatever artillery they have at their disposal to stop something from happening. They don’t much care about consistency or plausibility. They fear that if the speech is sponsored by an institution such as Brooklyn College, it will not only be heard, but become hearable, admitted into the audible world. The fear is that viewpoint will become legitimate, which means only that someone can publicly hold such a view and that it becomes eligible for contestation. A legitimate view is not necessarily right, but it is not ruled out in advance as hate speech or injurious conduct. Those who did not want any of these words to become sayable and audible imagined that the world they know and value will come to an end if such words are uttered, as if the words themselves will rise off the page or fly out of the mouth as weapons that will injure, maim or even kill, leading to irreversibly catastrophic consequences. This is why some people claimed that if this event were held, the two-state solution would be imperiled—they attributed great efficacy to these words. And yet others said it would lead to the coming of a second Holocaust—an unimaginable remark to which I will nevettheless return. One might say that all of these claims were obvious hyperbole and should be dismissed as such. But it is important to understand that they are wielded for the purpose of intimidation, animating the spectre of traumatic identification with the Nazi oppressor: if you let these people speak, you yourself will be responsible for heinous crimes or for the destruction of a state, or the Jewish people. If you listen to the words, you will become complicit in war crimes.

And yet all of us here have to distinguish between the right to listen to a point of view and the right to concur or dissent from that point of view; otherwise, public discourse is destroyed by censorship. I wonder, what is the fantasy of speech nursed by the censor? There must be enormous fear behind the drive to censorship, but also enormous aggression, as if we were all in a war where speech has suddenly become artillery. Is there another way to approach language and speech as we think about this issue? Is it possible that some other use of words might forestall violence, bring about a general ethos of non-violence, and so enact, and open onto, the conditions for a public discourse that welcomes and shelters disagreement, even disarray?

The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement is, in fact, a non-violent movement; it seeks to use established legal means to achieve its goals; and it is, interestingly enough, the largest Palestinian civic movement at this time. That means that the largest Palestinian civic movement is a non-violent one that justifies its actions through recourse to international law. Further, I want to underscore that this is also a movement whose stated core principles include the opposition to every form of racism, including both state-sponsored racism and anti-Semitism. Of course, we can debate what anti-Semitism is, in what social and political forms it is found. I myself am sure that the election of self-identified national socialists to the Greek parliament is a clear sign of anti-Semitism; I am sure that the recirculation of Nazi insignia and rhetoric by the National Party of Germany is a clear sign of anti-Semitism. I am also sure that the rhetoric and actions of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are often explicitly anti-Semitic, and that some forms of Palestinian opposition to Israel do rely on anti-Semitic slogans, falsehoods and threats. All of these forms of anti-Semitism are to be unconditionally opposed. And I would add, they have to be opposed in the same way and with the same tenacity that any form of racism has to be opposed, including state racism.

But still, it is left to us to ask, why would a non-violent movement to achieve basic political rights for Palestinians be understood as anti-Semitic? Surely, there is nothing about the basic rights themselves that constitute a problem. They include equal rights of citizenship for current inhabitants; the end to the occupation, and the rights of unlawfully displaced persons to return to their lands and gain restitution for their losses. We will surely speak about each of these three principles this evening. But for now, I want to ask, why would a collective struggle to use economic and cultural forms of power to compel the enforcement of international laws be considered anti-Semitic? It would be odd to say that they are anti-Semitic to honor internationally recognized rights to equality, to be free of occupation and to have unlawfully appropriated land and property restored. I know that this last principle makes many people uneasy, but there are several ways of conceptualizing how the right of return might be exercised lawfully such that it does not entail further dispossession (and we will return to this issue).

For those who say that exercising internationally recognized rights is anti-Semitic, or becomes anti-Semitic in this context, they must mean either that a) its motivation is anti-Semitic or b) its effects are anti-Semitic. I take it that no one is actually saying that the rights themselves are anti-Semitic, since they have been invoked by many populations in the last decades, including Jewish people dispossessed and displaced in the aftermath of the second world war. Is there really any reason we should not assume that Jews, just like any other people, would prefer to live in a world where such internationally recognized rights are honored? It will not do to say that international law is the enemy of the Jewish people, since the Jewish people surely did not as a whole oppose the Nuremburg trials, or the development of human rights law. In fact, there have always been Jews working alongside non-Jews—not only to establish the courts and codes of international law, but in the struggle to dismantle colonial regimes, opposing any and all legal and military powers that seek systematically to undermine the conditions of political self-determination for any population.

Only if we accept the proposition that the state of Israel is the exclusive and legitimate representative of the Jewish people would a movement calling for divestment, sanctions and boycott against that state be understood as directed against the Jewish people as a whole. Israel would then be understood as co-extensive with the Jewish people. There are two major problems with this view. First, the state of Israel does not represent all Jews, and not all Jews understand themselves as represented by the state of Israel. Secondly, the state of Israel should be representing all of its population equally, regardless of whether or not they are Jewish, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.

So the first critical and normative claim that follows is that the state of Israel should be representing the diversity of its own population. Indeed, nearly 25 percent of Israel’s population is not Jewish, and most of those are Palestinian, although some of them are Bedouins and Druze. If Israel is to be considered a democracy, the non-Jewish population deserves equal rights under the law, as do the Mizrachim (Arab Jews) who represent over 30 percent of the population. Presently, there are at least twenty laws that privilege Jews over Arabs within the Israeli legal system. The 1950 Law of Return grants automatic citizenship rights to Jews from anywhere in the world upon request, while denying that same right to Palestinians who were forcibly dispossessed of their homes in 1948 or subsequently as the result of illegal settlements and redrawn borders. Human Rights Watch has compiled an extensive study of Israel's policy of "separate, not equal" schools for Palestinian children. Moreover, as many as 100 Palestinian villages in Israel are still not recognized by the Israeli government, lacking basic services (water, electricity, sanitation, roads, etc.) from the government. Palestinians are barred from military service, and yet access to housing and education still largely depends on military status. Families are divided by the separation wall between the West Bank and Israel, with few forms of legal recourse to rights of visitation and reunification. The Knesset debates the “transfer” of the Palestinian population to the West Bank, and the new loyalty oath requires that anyone who wishes to become a citizen pledge allegiance to Israel as Jewish and democratic, thus eliding once again the non-Jewish population and binding the full population to a specific and controversial, if not contradictory, version of democracy.

The second point, to repeat, is that the Jewish people extend beyond the state of Israel and the ideology of political Zionism. The two cannot be equated. Honestly, what can really be said about “the Jewish people” as a whole? Is it not a lamentable sterotype to make large generalizations about all Jews, and to presume they all share the same political commitments? They—or, rather, we—occupy a vast spectrum of political views, some of which are unconditionally supportive of the state of Israel, some of which are conditionally supportive, some are skeptical, some are exceedingly critical, and an increasing number, if we are to believe the polls in this country, are indifferent. In my view, we have to remain critical of anyone who posits a single norm that decides rights of entry into the social or cultural category determining as well who will be excluded. Most categories of identity are fraught with conflicts and ambiguities; the effort to suppress the complexity of the category of “Jewish” is thus a political move that seeks to yoke a cultural identity to a specific Zionist position. If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered to be anti-Semitic, if any number of internationals who have joined thus struggle from various parts of the world are also considered anti-Semitic and if Palestinians seeking rights of political self-determination are so accused as well, then it would appear that no oppositional move that can take place without risking the accusation of anti-Semitism. That accusation becomes a way of discrediting a bid for self-determination, at which point we have to ask what political purpose the radical mis-use of that accusation has assumed in the stifling of a movement for political self-determination.

When Zionism becomes co-extensive with Jewishness, Jewishness is pitted against the diversity that defines democracy, and if I may say so, betrays one of the most important ethical dimensions of the diasporic Jewish tradition, namely, the obligation of co-habitation with those different from ourselves. Indeed, such a conflation denies the Jewish role in broad alliances in the historical struggle for social and political justice in unions, political demands for free speech, in socialist communities, in the resistance movement in World War II, in peace activism, the Civil Rights movement and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. It also demeans the important struggles in which Jews and Palestinians work together to stop the wall, to rebuild homes, to document indefinite detention, to oppose military harassment at the borders and to oppose the occupation and to imagine the plausible scenarios for the Palestinian right to return.

The point of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is to withdraw funds and support from major financial and cultural institutions that support the operations of the Israeli state and its military. The withdrawal of investments from companies that actively support the military or that build on occupied lands, the refusal to buy products that are made by companies on occupied lands, the withdrawal of funds from investment accounts that support any of these activities, a message that a growing number of people in the international community will not be complicit with the occupation. For this goal to be realized, it matters that there is a difference between those who carry Israeli passports and the state of Israel, since the boycott is directed only toward the latter. BDS focuses on state agencies and corporations that build machinery designed to destroy homes, that build military materiel that targets populations, that profit from the occupation, that are situated illegally on Palestinian lands, to name a few.

BDS does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their national citizenship. I concede that not all versions of BDS have been consistent on this point in the past, but the present policy confirms this principle. I myself oppose any form of BDS that discriminates against individuals on the basis of their citizenship. Others may interpret the boycott differently, but I have no problem collaborating with Israeli scholars and artists as long as we do not participate in any Israeli institution or have Israeli state monies support our collaborative work. The reason, of course, is that the academic and cultural boycott seeks to put pressure on all those cultural institutions that have failed to oppose the occupation and struggle for equal rights and the rights of the dispossessed, all those cultural institutions that think it is not their place to criticize their government for these practices, all of them that understand themselves to be above or beyond this intractable political condition. In this sense, they do contribute to an unacceptable status quo. And those institutions should know why international artists and scholars refuse to come when they do, just as they also need to know the conditions under which people will come. When those cultural institutions (universities, art centers, festivals) were to take such a stand, that would be the beginning of the end of the boycott (let’s remember that the goal of any boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is to become obsolete and unnecessary; once conditions of equality and justice are achieved, the rationale for BDS falls away, and in this sense achieving the just conditions for the dissolution of the movement is its very aim).

In some ways, the argument between BDS and its opponents centers on the status of international law. Which international laws are to be honored, and how can they be enforced. International law cannot solve every political conflict, but political conflicts that fully disregard international law usually only get worse as a result. We know that the government of the state of Israel has voiced its skepticism about international law, repeatedly criticizing the United Nations as a biased institution, even bombing its offices in Gaza. Israel also became the first country to withhold cooperation from a UN review of its human rights practices scheduled last week in Geneva (New York Times, 1/29/13). I think it is fair to call this a boycott of the UN on the part of the state of Israel. Indeed, one hears criticism of the ineffectiveness of the UN on both sides, but is that a reason to give up on the global human rights process altogether? There are good reasons to criticize the human rights paradigm, to be sure, but for now, I am only seeking to make the case that BDS is not a destructive or hateful movement. It appeals to international law precisely under conditions in which the international community, the United Nations included, neighboring Arab states, human rights courts, the European Union, The United States and the UK, have all failed effectively to rectify the manifest injustices in Palestine. Boycott, divestment and the call for sanctions are popular demands that emerge precisely when the international community has failed to compel a state to abide by its own norms.

Let us consider, then, go back to the right of return, which constitutes the controversial third prong of the BDS platform. The law of return is extended to all of us who are Jewish who live in the diaspora, which means that were it not for my politics, I too would be eligible to become a citizen of that state. At the same time, Palestinians in need of the right of return are denied the same rights? If someone answers that “Jewish demographic advantage” must be maintained, one can query whether Jewish demographic advantage is policy that can ever be reconciled with democratic principles. If one responds to that with “the Jews will only be safe if they retain their majority status,” the response has to be that any state will surely engender an opposition movement when it seeks to maintain a permanent and disenfranchised minority within its borders, fails to offer reparation or return to a population driven from their lands and homes, keeps over four million people under occupation without rights of mobility, due process and political self-determination, and another 1.6 million under siege in Gaza, rationing of food, administering unemployment, blocking building materials to restore bombed homes and institutions, intensifying vulnerability to military bombardment resulting in widespread injury and death.

If we conclude that those who participate in such an opposition movement do so because they hate the Jews, we have surely failed to recognize that this is an opposition to oppression, to the multi-faceted dimensions of a militarized form of settler colonialism that has entailed subordination, occupation and dispossession. Any group would oppose that condition, and the state that maintains it, regardless of whether that state is identified as a Jewish state or any other kind. Resistance movements do not discriminate against oppressors, though sometimes the language of the movement can use discriminatory language, and that has to be opposed. However, it is surely cynical to claim that the only reason a group organizes to oppose its own oppression is that it bears an inexplicable prejudice or racist hatred against those who oppress them. We can see the torque of this argument and the absurd conclusions to which it leads: if the Palestinians did not hate the Jews, they would accept their oppression by the state of Israel! If they resist, it is a sign of anti-Semitism!

This kind of logic takes us to one of the traumatic and affective regions of this conflict. There are reasons why much of the global media and prevailing political discourses cannot accept that a legitimate opposition to inequality, occupation, and dispossession is very different from anti-Semitism. After all, we cannot rightly argue that if a state claiming to represent the Jewish people engages in these manifestly illegal activities, it is therefore justified on the grounds that the Jews have suffered atrociously and therefore have special needs to be exempt from international norms. Such illegal acts are never justified, no matter who is practicing them.

At the same time, one must object to some of the language used by Hamas to refer to the state of Israel, where very often the state of Israel is itself conflated with the Jews, and where the actions of the state reflect on the nature of the Jews. This is clearly anti-Semitism and must be opposed. But BDS is not the same as Hamas, and it is simply ignorant to argue that all Palestinian organizations are the same. In the same vein, those who wrote to me recently to say that BDS is the same as Hamas is the same as the Nazis are involved in fearful and aggressive forms of association that assume that any effort to make distinctions is naïve and foolish. And so we see how the conflations such as these lead to bitter and destructive consequences. What if we slowed down enough to think and to distinguish—what political possibilities might then open?

And it brings us to yet another outcry that we heard in advance of our discussion here this evening. That was BDS is the coming of a second holocaust. I believe we have to be very careful when anyone makes use of the Holocaust in this way and for this purpose, since if the term becomes a weapon by which we seek to stigmatize those with opposing political viewpoints, then we have first of all dishonored the slaughter of over 6 million Jewish people, and another 4 million gypsies, gay people, disabled, the communists and the physically and mentally ill. All of us, Jewish or not Jewish, must keep that historical memory intact and alive, and refuse forms of revisionism and political exploitation of that history. We may not exploit and re-ignite the traumatic dimension of Hitler’s atrocities for the purposes of accusing and silencing those with opposing political viewpoints, including legitimate criticisms of the state of Israel. Such a tactic not only demeans and instrumentalizes the memory of the Nazi genocide, but produces a general cynicism about both accusations of anti-Semitism and predictions of new genocidal possibilities. After all, if those terms are bandied about as so much artillery in a war, then they are used as blunt instruments for the purposes of censorship and self-legitimation, and they no longer name and describe the very hideous political realities to which they belong. The more such accusations and invocations are tactically deployed, the more skeptical and cynical the public becomes about their actual meaning and use. This is a violation of that history, an insult to the surviving generation, and a cynical and excited recirculation of traumatic material—a kind of sadistic spree, to put it bluntly—that seeks to defend and legitimate a very highly militarized and repressive state regime. Of the use of the Holocaust to legitimate Israeli military destructiveness, Primo Levi wrote in 1982, “I deny any validity to [the use of the Holocaust for] this defence.”

We have heard in recent days as well that BDS threatens the attempt to establish a two-state solution. Although many people who support BDS are in favor of a one-state solution, the BDS movement has not taken a stand on this explicitly, and includes signatories who differ from one another on this issue. In fact, the BDS committee, formed in 2005 with the support of over 170 organizations in Palestine, does not take any stand on the one state or two state solution. It describes itself as an “anti-normalization” politics that seeks to force a wide range of political institutions and states to stop compliance with the occupation, unequal treatment and dispossession. For the BDS National Committee, it is not the fundamental structure of the state of Israel that is called into question, but the occupation, its denial of basic human rights, its abrogation of international law (including its failure to honor the rights of refugees), and the brutality of its continuing conditions—harassment, humiliation, destruction and confiscation of property, bombardment, and killing. Indeed, one finds an array of opinions on one-state and two-state, especially now that one-state can turn into Greater Israel with separated Bantustans of Palestinian life. The two-state solution brings its own problems, given that the recent proposals tend to suspend the rights of refugees, accept curtailed borders and fail to show whether the establishment of an independent state will bring to an end the ongoing practices and institutions of occupation, or simply incorporate them into its structure. How can a state be built with so many settlements, all illegal, which are expected to bring the Israeli population in Palestine to nearly one million of its four million inhabitants. Many have argued that it is the rapidly increasing settler population in the West Bank, not BDS, that is forcing the one-state solution.

Some people accept divestment without sanctions, or divestment and sanctions without the boycott. There are an array of views. In my view, the reason to hold together all three terms is simply that it is not possible to restrict the problem of Palestinian subjugation to the occupation alone. It is significant in itself, since four million people are living without rights of mobility, sovereignty, control over their borders, trade and political self-determination, subjected to military raids, indefinite detention, extended imprisonment and harassment. However, if we fail to make the link between occupation, inequality and dispossession, we agree to forget the claims of 1948, bury the right to return. We overlook the structural link between the Israeli demand for demographic advantage and the multivalent forms of dispossession that affect Palestinians who have been forced to become diasporic, those who live with partial rights within the borders, and those who live under occupation in the West Bank or in the open air prison of Gaza (with high unemployment and rationed foods) or other refugee camps in the region.

Some people have said that they value co-existence over boycott, and wish to engage in smaller forms of binational cultural communities in which Israeli Jews and Palestinians live and work together. This is a view that holds to the promise that small organic communities have a way of expanding into ever widening circles of solidarity, modeling the conditions for peaceable co-existence. The only question is whether those small communities continue to accept the oppressive structure of the state, or whether in their small and effective way oppose the various dimensions of continuing subjugation and disenfranchisement. If they do the latter, they become solidarity struggles. So co-existence becomes solidarity when it joins the movement that seeks to undo the structural conditions of inequality, containment and dispossession. So perhaps the conditions of BDS solidarity are precisely what prefigure that form of living and working together that might one day become a just and peaceable form of co-existence.

One could be for the BDS movement as the only credible non-violent mode of resisting the injustices committed by the state of Israel without falling into the football lingo of being “pro” Palestine and “anti” Israel. This language is reductive, if not embarrassing. One might reasonably and passionately be concerned for all the inhabitants of that land, and simply maintain that the future for any peaceful, democratic solution for that region will become thinkable through the dismantling of the occupation, through enacting the equal rights of Palestinian minorities and finding just and plausible ways for the rights of refugees to be honored. If one holds out for these three aims in political life, then one is not simply living within the logic of the “pro” and the “anti”, but trying to fathom the conditions for a “we”, a plural existence grounded in equality. What does one do with one’s words but reach for a place beyond war, ask for a new constellation of political life in which the relations of colonial subjugation are brought to a halt. My wager, my hope, is that everyone’s chance to live with greater freedom from fear and aggression will be increased as those conditions of justice, freedom, and equality are realized. We can or, rather, must start with how we speak, and how we listen, with the right to education, and to dwell critically, fractiously, and freely in political discourse together. Perhaps the word “justice” will assume new meanings as we speak it, such that we can venture that what will be just for the Jews will also be just for the Palestinians, and for all the other people living there, since justice, when just, fails to discriminate, and we savor that failure.

© 2012 The Nation

Judith Butler

Judith Butler is a professor in the Rhetoric and Comparative Literature department at UC Berkeley. She is the author of several books on feminist theory, continental philosophy and contemporary politics.

Your Newspaper Works for the State

Your Newspaper Works for the State

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Posted on Feb 8, 2013
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Major papers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post have complied with requests from the Bush and Obama administrations to conceal sometimes-illegal acts performed by the government in the name of national security, writes Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian.

Since those deeds include The New York Times’ withholding during the 2004 campaign season of knowledge of the Bush administration’s illegal warrantless eavesdropping program—a concealment that helped Bush get re-elected—we should not assume that such acts and their subsequent cover-ups are in the public interest.

On Wednesday, The Washington Post revealed that two years ago, the Obama administration established a drone base in Saudi Arabia from which it has targeted and killed people in Yemen, including U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman. But the Post admitted that it and a number of other U.S. media outlets had long known about the base but had cooperated to keep it secret from the U.S. public:

“The Washington Post had refrained from disclosing the specific location at the request of the administration, which cited concern that exposing the facility would undermine operations against an al-Qaeda affiliate regarded as the network’s most potent threat to the United States, as well as potentially damage counterterrorism collaboration with Saudi Arabia,” the paper wrote.

“The Post learned Tuesday night that another news organization was planning to reveal the location of the base, effectively ending an informal arrangement among several news organizations that had been aware of the location for more than a year.”

That “other news organization” was The New York Times.

“[N]one of these facts—once they were finally reported—ultimately resulted in any harm,” Greenwald writes. “Instead, it has everything to do with obeying government dictates; shielding high-level government officials from embarrassing revelations; protecting even the most extreme government deceit and illegality; and keeping the domestic population of the US (their readers) ignorant of the vital acts in which their own government is engaged.”

Dr. Jack Lule, a professor of journalism and communication at Lehigh University, suggested in an article on the censorship that “the real reason [the government wanted to hide the existence of the base was] that the administration did not want to embarrass the Saudis—and for the US news media to be complicit in that is craven.”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Glenn Greenwaled at The Guardian:

There are, of course, instances where newspapers can validly opt to conceal facts that they learn. That’s when the harm that comes from disclosure plainly outweighs the public interest in learning of them (the classic case is when, in a war, a newspaper learns of imminent troop movements: there is no value in reporting that but ample harm from doing so). But none of these instances comes close to meeting that test. Instead, media outlets overwhelmingly abide by government dictates as to what they should conceal. As Greensdale wrote: “most often, they oblige governments by acceding to requests not to publish sensitive information that might jeopardise operations.”

As all of these examples demonstrate, extreme levels of subservience to US government authority is embedded in the ethos of the establishment American media. They see themselves not as watchdogs over the state but as loyal agents of it.

… The entity that is designed to be, and endlessly praises itself for being, a check on US government power is, in fact, its most loyal servant. There are significant exceptions: Dana Priest did disclose the CIA black sites network over the agency’s vehement objections, while the NYT is now suing the government to compel the release of classified documents relating to Obama’s assassination program. But time and again, one finds the US media acting to help suppress the newsworthy secrets of the US government rather than report on them. Its collaborative “informal” agreement to hide the US drone base in Saudi Arabia is just the latest in a long line of such behavior.

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US Media Yet Again Conceals Newsworthy Government Secrets

The US media, over the last decade (at least), has repeatedly acted to conceal newsworthy information it obtains about the actions of the US government. In each instance, the self-proclaimed adversarial press corps conceals these facts at the behest of the US government, based on patently absurd claims that reporting them will harm US national security. In each instance, what this media concealment actually accomplishes is enabling the dissemination of significant government falsehoods without challenge, and permitting the continuation of government deceit and even illegality.The Washington Post this week admitted it was part of an "informal arrangement" to conceal from its readers a US drone base in Saudi Arabia. Photograph: Alamy

One of the most notorious examples was in mid-2004 when the New York Times discovered - thanks to a courageous DOJ whistleblower - that the Bush administration was eavesdropping on the electronic communications of Americans without the warrants required by the criminal law. But after George Bush summoned to the Oval Office the paper's publisher (Arthur Sulzberger) and executive editor (Bill Keller) and directed them to conceal what they had learned, the NYT complied by sitting on the story for a-year-and-a-half: until late December, 2005, long after Bush had been safely re-elected. The "national security" excuse for this concealment was patently ludicrous from the start: everyone knew the US government was trying to eavesdrop on al-Qaida communications and this story merely revealed that they were doing so illegally (without warrants) rather than legally (with warrants). By concealing the story for so long, the New York Times helped the Bush administration illegally spy on Americans.

The Washington Post's Dana Priest, in a superb act of journalism, reported in 2005 that the CIA was maintaining a network of secret "black sites" where detainees were interrogated and abused beyond the monitoring scrutiny of human rights groups and even Congress. But the Post purposely concealed the identity of the countries serving as the locale of those secret prisons in order to enable the plainly illegal program to continue without bothersome disruptions: "the Washington Post is not publishing the names of the Eastern European countries involved in the covert program, at the request of senior US officials."

In 2011, the New York Times along with numerous other US media outlets learned that the American arrested in Pakistan for having shot and killed two Pakistanis, Raymond Davis, was not - as President Obama falsely claimed - "our diplomat", but was a CIA agent and former Blackwater contractor. Not only did the NYT conceal this fact, but it repeatedly and uncritically printed claims from Obama and other officials about Davis' status which it knew to be false. It was only once the Guardian published the facts about Davis - that he was a CIA agent - did the Times tell the truth to its readers, admitting that the disclosure "pulled back the curtain on a web of covert American operations inside Pakistan, part of a secret war run by the CIA".

The NYT, as usual, justified its concealment of this obviously newsworthy information as coming "at the request of the Obama administration, which argued that disclosure of his specific job would put his life at risk". But as the Guardian's Deputy Editor Ian Katz noted, "Davis [was] already widely assumed in Pakistan to have links to US intelligence" and "disclosing his CIA role would [therefore not] expose him to increased risk".

And now, yet again, the US media has been caught working together to conceal obviously newsworthy government secrets. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that two years ago, the Obama administration established a base in Saudi Arabia from which it deploys drones to kill numerous people in Yemen. including US citizen Anwar Awlaki and, two weeks, later his 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman. The US base was built after the US launched a December, 2009 cruise missile/cluster-bomb attack that slaughtered dozens of Yemeni women and children.

But the Post admitted that it - along with multiple other US media outlets - had long known about the Saudi Arabia drone base but had acted in unison to conceal it from the US public:

"The Washington Post had refrained from disclosing the specific location at the request of the administration, which cited concern that exposing the facility would undermine operations against an al-Qaeda affiliate regarded as the network's most potent threat to the United States, as well as potentially damage counterterrorism collaboration with Saudi Arabia.

"The Post learned Tuesday night that another news organization was planning to reveal the location of the base, effectively ending an informal arrangement among several news organizations that had been aware of the location for more than a year."

The "other news organization" which the Post references is the New York Times. The NYT - in a very good article yesterday on the role played by CIA nominee John Brennan in US drones strikes in Yemen - reported that Brennan "work[ed] closely with neighboring Saudi Arabia to gain approval for a secret CIA drone base there that is used for American strikes". As the paper's Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, explained, the NYT was one of the papers which "had withheld the location of that base at the request of the CIA", but had decided now to report it. That was why the Post did so.

The existence of this drone base in Saudi Arabia is significantly newsworthy in multiple ways. The US drone program is drenched with extreme secrecy. The assassination of Awlaki is one of the most radical acts the US government has undertaken in the last decade at least. The intense cooperation between the US and the incomparably despotic Saudi regime is of vital significance. As Sullivan, the NYT's Public Editor, put it in defending the NYT's disclosure (and implicitly questioning the prior media conspiracy of silence):

"Given the government's undue secrecy about the drone program, which it has never officially acknowledged the existence of, and that program's great significance to America's foreign policy, its national security, and its influence on the tumultuous Middle East, The Times ought to be reporting as much and as aggressively as possible on it."

As usual, the excuses for concealing this information are frivolous. Indeed, as the Guardian's Roy Greenslade noted, "the location of several drone bases was published as long ago as September last year on at least one news website, as this item on the North America Inter Press Service illustrates." Gawker's Adrian Chen documents numerous other instances where the base had been publicly disclosed and writes:


"In the case of the Saudi drone base, the Times and the Post weren't protecting a state secret: They were helping the CIA bury an inconvenient story. . . . The fact that the drone base was already reported renders the rationale behind the months-long blackout a farce."

In an article on the controversy over this self-censorship, the Guardian this morning quotes Dr Jack Lule, a professor of journalism and communication at Lehigh University:


"The decision not to publish is a shameful one. The national security standard has to be very high, perhaps imminent danger. The fact that we are even having a conversation about whether it was a national security issue should have sent alarm bells off to the editors. I think the real reason was that the administration did not want to embarrass the Saudis – and for the US news media to be complicit in that is craven."

The same dynamic drives most of these acts of US media self-censorship. It has nothing to do with legitimate claims of national security. Indeed, none of these facts - once they were finally reported - ultimately resulted in any harm. Instead, it has everything to do with obeying government dictates; shielding high-level government officials from embarrassing revelations; protecting even the most extreme government deceit and illegality; and keeping the domestic population of the US (their readers) ignorant of the vital acts in which their own government is engaged.

There are, of course, instances where newspapers can validly opt to conceal facts that they learn. That's when the harm that comes from disclosure plainly outweighs the public interest in learning of them (the classic case is when, in a war, a newspaper learns of imminent troop movements: there is no value in reporting that but ample harm from doing so). But none of these instances comes close to meeting that test. Instead, media outlets overwhelmingly abide by government dictates as to what they should conceal. As Greensdale wrote: "most often, they oblige governments by acceding to requests not to publish sensitive information that might jeopardise operations."

As all of these examples demonstrate, extreme levels of subservience to US government authority is embedded in the ethos of the establishment American media. They see themselves not as watchdogs over the state but as loyal agents of it.

Recall the extraordinary 2009 BBC debate over WikiLeaks in which former NYT executive editor Bill Keller proudly praised himself for concealing information the Obama administration told him to conceal, prompting this incredulous reply from the BBC host: "Just to be clear, Bill Keller, are you saying that you sort of go to the government in advance and say: 'What about this, that and the other, is it all right to do this and all right to do that,' and you get clearance, then?" Keller's admission also prompted this response from former British diplomat Carne Ross, who was also on the program: "It's extraordinary that the New York Times is clearing what it says about this with the US Government."

After the Guardian published the truth about Raymond Davis, former Bush DOJ laywer Jack Goldsmith, in 2011, defended the New York Times' concealment of it by hailing what he called "the patriotism of the American press". He quoted former Bush CIA and NSA chief Gen. Michael Hayden as saying that "American journalists display 'a willingness to work with us' . . . but with the foreign press 'it's very, very difficult'". Goldsmith said that while foreign media outlets will more readily report on secret US government acts (he named The Guardian, Al Jazeera and WikiLeaks), US national security journalists with whom he spoke justified their eagerness to cooperate with the US government by "expressly ascrib[ing] this attitude to 'patriotism' or 'jingoism' or to being American citizens or working for American publications."

That is the key truth. The entity that is designed to be, and endlessly praises itself for being, a check on US government power is, in fact, its most loyal servant. There are significant exceptions: Dana Priest did disclose the CIA black sites network over the agency's vehement objections, while the NYT is now suing the government to compel the release of classified documents relating to Obama's assassination program. But time and again, one finds the US media acting to help suppress the newsworthy secrets of the US government rather than report on them. Its collaborative "informal" agreement to hide the US drone base in Saudi Arabia is just the latest in a long line of such behavior.

© 2013 the Guardian

Glenn Greenwald

Is the International Student Movement the Future of Global Organizing?

Don’t let the forces of regression dominate the media in 2013 - click here to support brave, independent reporting today by making a contribution to Truthout.

On Nov. 14, 2012, tens of thousands of students flooded the streets of Montreal to express opposition to the proposed tuition hikes. Iain Brannigan, one of approximately 65,000 participants, often took part in the city’s frequent, massive student protests — but this day was uniquely exciting for him. As the University of Ottawa international-development student marched to the tune of “À qui la rue?” (Whose streets? ) “À nous la rue!” (Our streets!), he knew that the words were being chanted simultaneously — in a dozen different languages — by students around the globe.

It was the first day of the week-long Global Education Strike, during which thousands of students refused to attend school in Quebec, France and Belgium, while thousands more participated in solidarity demonstrations in Thailand, England, Indonesia, Italy and California. Only some of Brannigan’s comrades knew about the synchronicity, but he was well aware of it. For four years he had been a user of the little-known, unglamorous website where the global demonstration had been coordinated: ism-global.net, better known as the International Student Movement.

For all students, everywhere

The website has served as a communication platform since 2008, where activists have coordinated eight international actions. The International Student Movement has active members in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Balkans, and functions as a rich reservoir of multimedia news on the ever-expanding global student movement. Although the International Student Movement is explicitly a platform for autonomous coordination and not an organization itself, most of its users have united around a joint statement that lays out the community’s shared values.

“[We] have been protesting against the increasing commercialization and privatization of public education, and fighting for free and emancipatory education,” it explains. “We strive for structures based on direct participation and nonhierarchical organization through collective discussion and action.”

If the International Student Movement as a collective has an agenda of its own, it is to help students in many different places realize that they are part of the same struggle. It’s an idea that is already in the minds of many student leaders: that their protest is not only to reclaim their own education from profit-seeking institutions, but also to reshape the community of students that they are fighting for — all students, everywhere.

A history of tech-roots organizing

The International Student Movement is riding a wave of global education protests. In 2010, British students struck back against austerity measures. In 2011, Chilean students frightened university administrators around the world by sparring with security forces in protest of neoliberal education policies. In 2012, Quebec universities organized the largest student strike in the country’s history: a successful six-month protest, including a 300,000-person demonstration, which halted proposed tuition hikes. Over the last few years, less-recognized student movements in Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Croatia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Italy and Swaziland have helped fill in a now finely-pixelated picture of an emerging anti-austerity global student movement. And while the website wasn’t central in the organization of all of these actions, its developers hope that the site will increasingly help connect these national efforts, allowing more people to see how social ills from New York City to Athens share conspicuously similar symptoms.

One architect of the tech-roots machine was Mo Schmidt, the International Student Movement’s founder and one of its administrators. He was a graduate student in Sociology and Economics at the University of Marburg in Germany in 2008 before so-called global grassroots activism really entered public consciousness. (This happened around 2009 when Bill McKibben’s 350.org orchestrated the “world’s most widespread day of political action” in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.)The International Student Movement is also part of a technological shift in the way protest movements are organized and quantified. Since the late 2000s, tech-savvy activists have recognized that such methods of coordination like convergences could be updated to keep decision-making local but make the impact global: pairing technology and grassroots organizing to construct a (rather buggy) global tech-roots machine. For example, the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance is fusing the local-global connection, while groups like Take the Square and the trending #GlobalNoisemovement are flexing global power — the latter turning local pot-banging protests into an international symphony. Of course, part of the impetus for this shift comes from the increasing globalization of the corporate-political world itself and the growing recognition that, to disable this global machine, activists are going to have to update their toolkits.

Schmidt was fed up with what he described as the “commercialization of education.” So he put out a call, focusing exclusively on “groups that work on an autonomous level, not attached to any political parties or labor unions.” With the help of a large, global, education-related mailing list that he gained access to, Schmidt found other students and educators who wanted an independent voice, including a web-savvy Irish elementary school teacher. The energy snowballed, and the dispersed group held its first action on Nov. 5, 2008, with participation around Europe and the United States, as well as in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

A site for and by activists

For such a potentially powerful tool, ism-global.net is not as dazzling as one might expect. In mid-September, when I logged onto one of the International Student Movement’s weekly “global chats,” I was underwhelmed. The site was designed with a rudimentary dichromatic frame populated by links to organizations (the many “friends of ISM”) on one side and a Twitter feed on the other, followed by a long list of multimedia blog posts by someone named Mo. It struck me as a typical site for and by activists: functional and requiring some patience. But after a while, I did learn to navigate (and appreciate) this sprawling resource.

In the chat room, “moMarburg” (who I later learned was Mo Schmidt), laid out the agenda:

<moMarburg> so far we have the following agenda proposal: TOP1: round of introduction TOP2: local/regional news and updates TOP3: Q&As on the Global Education Strike TOP4: video project TOP5: communication TOP6 : global noise (Oct.13) TOP7: open space

Next, the international introductions began:

<snowhat-qc> Elias from quebec, student at laval university

<uecse[MOR]> we’re nabil belkabir, basma bakri, kenza benmoussa and anas hmam, Rabat (Morocco)

<Mexico> Teacher and student, Mexican global link

<Peter_Vienna> Hi, i’m Peter, studying in Vienna, soon Berlin.

<SM> I am from West Bengal (India) and I have been long connected with you vis gmail

<flort> Hi i am Flor and i am a student in Albania

<timus3> kk – Tim, UK student (Bristol). Anything else?

Although it was a small group using a relatively bare-bones structure, the content was powerful. I heard stories not reported elsewhere about the resurgent Moroccan education movement and Mexico’s #YoSoy132 — for which opposing censorship is central to the struggle — from students on the ground.

At one point, a user asked for further instructions on how to participate in the Global Education Strike, but Schmidt explained that there was no central authority for the action. This point — that the ISM has a decentralized and non-hierarchical structure — is paramount for him.

“A certain vision and political ideology are reflected in the structure itself,” he explained. “There are no mechanisms on the ISM that would justify one person having a different status than another person.”

The emphasis on decentralized control, autonomy and horizontality resembles the prefigurative anarchic ethos of movements like Occupy Wall Street and Spain’s 15M movement, and Schmidt noted similar challenges.

“To many activists, the concept of actually being a platform and not an organization is rather new,” he said. “They are used to having to work in organizations with hierarchical structures.”

So far, consensus-based decision-making over the platform has been tricky — yet ultimately effective. In 2009, for example, when users decided that a joint statement was useful, it was circulated for a full 10 months for feedback. Finally, it was accepted by 100 groups in 40 countries with no rejections. With the anonymity of the Internet, accountability is also complicated, and the International Student Movement has had some difficulty finding administrative volunteers to keep the site running. The open-access platform also leaves campaigns vulnerable to disruption, but, at least so far, divisive voices have been drowned out naturally when they are too one-sided.

Coordinating victories

Despite the need for troubleshooting, the International Student Movement has had some real wins.

In Croatia in 2009, assemblies and occupations that were coordinated locally as part of an International Student Movement week of action kicked off a student movement that included the occupation of 20 universities in eight cities. Activists in Croatia used the slogan “one world, one struggle,” which was christened over the International Student Movement site (and now student activists frequently send news and photos to #1world1struggle).

The International Student Movement has also made global student solidarity more feasible. In Swaziland in April of 2011, Maxwell Dlamini and others in the Swaziland National Union of Students were imprisoned and tortured because of their involvement in protests inspired by the Egyptian uprising. This prompted a solidarity campaign, which made international headlines, coordinated through the platform. 

The International Student Movement has also provided a network, information and sometimes even an inspirational boost for individual users. Brannigan, the University of Ottawa activist, met students around Canada at an ISM-North America convergence in November of 2011 just before the first mass mobilization in Montreal for the Maple Spring.


When Brannigan went to Germany as part of an international research program, he met with Mo Schmidt and other activists.“Thanks to these links,” he wrote in an email, “our student union was able to play a big role … in support and solidarity throughout the Maple Spring,” which included sending an Ottawa contingent to Quebec’s mass November 22 demonstration.

The platform provided a similar pathway into the student movement for Lindsay Curtis, a master’s student at Sacramento State University who is currently serving in the Peace Corps. She went from feeling apathetic to being an activist in 2010 while witnessing the attack on public education at UC Riverside during her undergraduate studies.

“I discovered ISM later that year,” she said. “That’s when I realized there were other people, worldwide, who cared about change just as much as I did. That’s when I swung into high gear and knew being an activist would always be my main job.”

Later, when Curtis visited Greece during the Syntagma Square occupation in 2011, she used ism-global.net to get minute-by-minute updates and to contact student activists in Greece to meet and discuss the occupation.

Questions for a new era

The International Student Movement may be rather basic and inaccessible to those who aren’t already active student leaders, but this four-year-old experiment is forcing users to think critically about the forthcoming era of tech-roots activism. It raises questions about the role of corporate-owned social media in grassroots activism, the challenges of horizontal structures and the strategies necessary for building power in the face of globalized, market-based educational institutions.

For active members of the International Student Movement, part of the answer to the question of building power lies in fostering local-global synchronicity. Over the course of November 23, Schmidt counted 150 University of Marburg students who were occupying the university senate’s monthly meeting and hosting a “strike-café” on the state of education in Germany. That same night, Schmidt scrolled through the 124 photos of Global Education Strike activities from around the globe that he had compiled into a Facebook album.

Which was the more important achievement? To Schmidt, it was the relationship between the two.

“People focus a lot on governments as the root of the problem: parties and individual politicians. But by connecting and creating an identity with a struggle on a global and not just a local level, you get away from that,” he explained. “You focus on the structures on a global level that are causing the problems on the local level. To me, it’s directly connected to the economic system, and by connecting globally we make those structures visible in some way.”

While it’s tempting to get excited about the potential of global connectivity — tech-enabled pan-studentism! Millennials of the world unite! — it’s important to remember the barriers to a universal identity. The Internet diminishes the importance of geographic proximity and increases the importance of affinity, but the global student identity still raises big questions about community; should students from Marburg identify first as Germans, students or something else?

This newfound freedom to choose one’s associations may both haunt and liberate millennials as the generation stumbles its way forward into the tech-roots era.

Supervisor of Intelligence Estimate Hailed for Preventing War With Iran

Transcript

Hassan Ghani

An award for integrity and honesty, for work that essentially prevented a war.Thomas Fingar, now a Professor at Stanford University, oversaw the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran in 2007, during a period when the Bush administration was beating the drums of war. Its conclusion, that all 16 US intelligence agencies judged with high confidence that Iran had given up its nuclear weapons programme in 2003, placed an insurmountable obstacle on the path to conflict.Critics of the report's conclusions say it was politicised. But speaking to us in Oxford, where he's currently teaching as part of an overseas programme, Thomas Fingar told us that unlike the flawed WMD report on Iraq in 2002, his assessment has withstood scrutiny over the years.Professor Thomas Fingar, Chairman of National Intelligence Council (2005-2008)“The assessment of our estimate has been reviewed many times. Many times before we issued it, many times in the years since, in the years since with additional information. Judging by the public statements, the annual threat testimony and the other statements of the administration, which must be consistent with the classified report, they haven’t changed it. It stood up as good analytic tradecraft. There are people who characterise it as if it was written in order to prevent war – that’s not why it was written, it was written to describe the situation as best we understood it.Hassan GhaniWhen asked what went wrong in 2002, Fingar says those authoring the NIE on Iraq caved in to pressure to produce a rushed report.Professor Thomas Fingar, Chairman of National Intelligence Council (2005-2008)“They produced an estimate in 17 days. That was the congressionally imposed deadline agreed to by George Tenet. So they produced something in 17 days, which had two weekends in there. It’s a classic case of you want something real bad, you get something real bad. Stuff pulled off the shelf not really re-evaluated, no ability to go back and really tear into this stuff. And we were not going to make that mistake again with the Iran estimate. So we took the heat and said ‘you don’t get it until we’re ready’.”Hassan GhaniBut he that ultimately politicians can choose to ignore the intelligence agencies, if they don't get the results they want.Professor Thomas Fingar, Chairman of National Intelligence Council (2005-2008)“The decision to go to war had clearly been made before that estimate was undertaken. Troops were moving, you could not have been in Washington and not known there was going to be war. For I&R we said there’s not evidence of a reconstituted nuclear programme – that was the only one that really mattered – and we said no, evidence isn’t there, the evidences can all be explained in other ways. That’s the third sentence of the estimate. So if you cared about this enough to read to the third sentence, you’d know that there was a dissent on the major justification for the conflict.”Hassan GhaniThe Sam Adams associates present their award each year for integrity in intelligence. Many previous awardees have been intelligence professionals and whistleblowers.2010 Sam Adams awardee, Julian Assange of Wikileaks, was piped into the ceremony by video link. He used the opportunity to tackle an upcoming Hollywood movie, which he says is an attack on Wikileaks, and renews the push for war with Iran.Julian Assange, Wikileaks“We have something here, which is a recent acquisition of Wikileaks. The script to a tens of millions of dollar budget Dreamworks movie. What is it about? It is about us, nominally. It is about Wikileaks the organisation. It is a mass propaganda attack against Wikileaks the organisation and the character of my staff and our activities and so on. But it is not just an attack against us, it fans the flames to start a war with Iran. It’s coming out in November, it’s being filmed now. So that’s the reality of where we’re at. Not merely a war of intelligence agencies, but a war of corrupt media, corrupt culture.”Hassan GhaniSam Adams himself was a CIA analyst in the Vietnam-era, tasked with estimating enemy strength in numbers. His conclusion that the Viet-cong numbered at least half a million, twice the official figure, was swept under the rug at the time, seen as politically unacceptable. He later did go public, but too late to have an impact on the war.Raymond McGovern, Former CIA Analyst“He went to an early death at age 55, with great remorse that he had not gone outside the system, that he had not said what he knew back in 1967, half way through the war. The way he explained it to me is, that Vietnam memorial, made of granite in a V, that whole left section wouldn’t be there, because there would be no names to carve into that granite. If he had spoken out, if I had spoken out, if we had spoken around 1967, when we had that cable from General Abrahams saying ‘we can’t go with the honest figures, because we’ve been projecting a view of progress’.”Hassan GhaniAnd so just as interesting as this year's award winner, are those presenting it to him. Former US Army Colonel Ann Wright resigned as a State department official in protest over the Iraq War. She argues that too many within government are carried along with political tides, often at the expense of what's best for the nation.Ann Wright, Former US State Dep. Official“There were so many people, that were a part of the decision to go ahead and invade and occupy Iraq, that knew better. That knew that the rationale for it was wrong, but they went along with the senior leadership of our country, who for whatever reason it was, whether it was for oil or for whatever it was, wanted to take out the Saddam Hussein regime.”Hassan GhaniLike other Sam Adams associates, she sees whistleblowers as an essential check to keep the system in balance.Ann Wright, Former US State Dep. Official“So many whistleblowers find that the system doesn’t want to hear what they have to say. Because usually it’s something that the government system is doing wrong and whistleblowers are saying ‘wait wait, this is going wrong’ or ‘maybe there’s even criminal acts that are happening that the government’s involved in and we’ve got to stop that and change it’. And we find that many times the government and senior officials in the government don’t want to hear that.”Hassan GhaniPrevious Sam Adams award winner, Coleen Rowley, blew the whistle after 9/11 on major intelligence sharing failures within the FBI in the run up to the attacks. Her 9/11 commission testimony helped re-organise the agency and the way information is shared.Coleen Rowley, Former FBI Agent, Whistleblower“They realised that 9/11 occurred because the agencies blocked information from each other, they blocked it vertically, horizontally, and they blocked it from the public. So the people who are in those environments, when information is blocked and there is lack of sharing, what is their choice? They almost have to either become a whistleblower or then live forever with the consequences of knowing that they could have done something. That’s why Wikileaks, or a method of sharing information, and of course I talked about sharing information between agencies, but it’s also with the public. The 9/11 commission said if the information even had been shared of Moussawi’s arrest, that would have probably prevented 9/11. So it’s an incredible situation, most people think that secrecy is protecting them, and it’s the exact opposite.”Hassan GhaniRowley believes much more information should be made public, whether or not it's politically embarrassing.Coleen Rowley, Former FBI Agent, Whistleblower“We’ve had some good inspector general investigations, for instance of torture in the CIA, to this day though it remains secret. And you see the opposite is Abu Ghraib, that report was made public, and so at least the public learned about it, and there was at the time an outcry about the fact that it was discovered that abuses were occurring in Abu Ghraib. But the CIA torture report, I think it’s probably a good investigation, but the public still doesn’t know, and so what’s happened? There’s a movie out there that’s using a false narrative – the public doesn’t know that it’s false, because how would they know? Because they’ve never seen the truth. It’s a pretty incredible situation, the truth really matters.”Hassan GhaniThe US government says it’s necessary to prosecute whistleblowers to protect national security. And for whistleblowers who do choose to go public, the consequences are increasingly dangerous.Coleen Rowley, Former FBI Agent, Whistleblower“Especially under Obama, there have been prosecutions, I think it’s 7 now, twice as many as all Presidents of all time, under the official espionage act. If you go back to deepthroat, and the FBI who knew that the highest level of President’s men were actually engaging wrongdoing – would that repeat today? I really wonder, especially now with the surveillance and the monitoring.”Hassan GhaniThomas Drake is the only whistleblower so far who's managed to fight espionage charges under Obama and win - there are six other cases. A former senior executive at the NSA, he blew the whistle to the media on a failed billion dollar surveillance programme which he believed violated the constitution.Thomas Drake, Former NSA Executive, Whistleblower“I would I eyewitness to massive fraud, waste and abuse on a multi-billion dollar program, a boondoggle programme called trailblazer, when there was actually a superior alternative, and was also a program that would have completely honoured the fourth amendment and the exclusive statute by which the US government, NSA, was authorised to violate the fourth amendment rights fo Americans. That was under FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They wilfully broke the law, criminally. But what happened later, as all of this came out and I ended up going to a reporter, decriminalised the reporting of the government wrong doing. They criminalized the reporting of government criminal conduct.”Hassan GhaniDrake says he was careful not to reveal any classified information, and after reviewing laws on disclosure, thought that the worst that could happen is that he would lose his job. Instead, he faced espionage charges amounting to 35 years in prison.Thomas Drake, Former NSA Executive, Whistleblower“I was turned into enemy of the state, I mean I'm charged with the espionage act, I'm being put into the same category as historical spies in US history, the Alder Hiss’, the Robert Hanssens, the Alrdich Ames of the world. That the category of people you become associated with. So it's probably one of the worst things an american can be charged with, under the espionage act, because you are painted into a very dark corner, you have betrayed your country. I was put under investigation by the bush administration, but the Bush administration never actually indicted me, it took the Obama administration to actually indictment me. And when they indicted me, they threw everything they had at me.In 2008, his presidential campaign, he actually lauded whistleblowers, he called them out as patriots. Who better to call the government onto the carpet when they’re up to no good. And yet he’s presided over the most draconian crackdown on truth tellers and whistleblowers of any administration, actually all administrations combined. It truly is unprecedented.Hassan GhaniDespite immense pressure to plead out, Drake maintained his innocence, and on the eve of trial government prosecutors dropped the charges. But Thomas Drake has been left blacklisted, financially bankrupt, and disturbed at the path his country is following.Thomas Drake, Former NSA Executive, Whistleblower“I'm having great difficulty recognising my own country, in terms of the government, the form of government under which I took an oath to support and defend four times in my government career. Any yet I was criminalized, and was painted as an enemy of the state, for simply speaking truth to power, and it was clear they were going to make me an object lesson, and they threw everything they had at me.Hassan GhaniOf course, it's not just US administrations that face accusations of covering up fraud and criminal acts under the guise of national security. Annie Machon was an agent in the British spy agency MI5. She claims Britain is ahead of the US in terms of stifling whistleblowers from within the intelligence community.Annie Machon, Former MI5 Agent, Whistleblower“They a rethink about the official secrets act and launched a new in 1989, the 1989 official secrets act, which obviated, got rid of, the public interest defence. And the only reason that clause was put in was to stifle whistleblowing. There’s already that old law to stop treachery, so this is designed to stifle whistleblowers. And it has been used many times in the UK since, against David Shayler, Richard Tomlinson, Katherine Gun, and it has a very chilling effect on the idea that if you see crimes committed by the spy agencies, what do you do with that information? The only person that you can go to legally under the OSA of 1989 is the head of the agency you wish to make a complaint against. So you can imagine how many of those complaints are upheld.And I think it’s particularly pertinent at the moment, certainly in the last 10 years, where we’ve seen false information fed into the political process, where we’ve seen politicisation of intelligence in the run up to the Iraq war, with the Downing Street memo and the head of MI6 saying the intelligence facts had to be fitted around the policy. And also where we see torture and extraordinary rendition, where our British spies are being used to do that and they are protected under a lot of secrecy laws, and the government in fact wants to make greater protection for them by setting up secret courts, where the accused can’t even see what they’re accused of. It’s Kafkaesque.”Hassan GhaniAllegations against British intelligence services of complicity in torture do still make it through to the media when the alleged victims speak out. But with tight laws around disclosure in the UK, it's impossible to say whether or not what we hear is just a fraction of what's taking place.Annie Machon, Former MI5 Agent, Whistleblower“I worked in MI5 in the mid-1990s for six years. That I would say would be the only marginally ethical decade of its hundred year existence, because up until 1989 it did not officially exist - it could do whatever it wanted - and post 9/11 the gloves came off with the intelligence agencies. So in the 1990s peace was breaking out, they didn’t get involved in torture, they stopped looking at political activists, the whole shebang. So that was actually the more ethical era, and yet in those six years David Shayler and I saw so much going wrong that we felt compelled to blow the whistle. So how much worse is it now? That has to be the question. I think all we’re seeing now with extradition and torture cases is definitely very much the tip of the iceberg.Hassan GhaniIt’s clear that the act of whistleblowing, even in the public interest, is under serious threat. Some may consider this a positive development in terms of national security. Others see it as the end of public accountability for those in positions of power.Thomas Drake, Former NSA Executive, Whistleblower“If the government begins to exercise increasing influence, even if it’s self-censorship where people will not speak up because they’re afraid that they’re going to be noticed by the government, that means that critical information about government activities will never see the light of day. And especially the secret side of government, you would think that’s the part of government you want the most accountability with. Well, if they’re choking off the sources and they’re making it very clear, even though I was able to prevail and hold off the government and remained a free man, the message was still sent.”

Judge Furious Over Mysterious Censors at Guantanamo Bay Trials

A military judge presiding over a pretrial hearing at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base ordered an end to a secretive U.S. government agency's censorship of what the media can and can't hear in the courtroom, following an unexpected blackout of hearings earlier this week.

Observers watch the Sept. 11 hearings from a viewing gallery at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Janet Hamlin, AFP/Getty Images) On Monday, sound from the courtroom that feeds into a soundproof media booth and through a feed to journalists in closed-circuit viewing sites on the US East Coast, was mysteriously cut during a discussion of a secret CIA prison—where the suspects of the 9/11 case, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants, were held and potentially tortured before transport to Guantánamo—leaving reporters and other observers in the dark for several key minutes of the discussion.

The judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, said the the information that had been blacked out was not officially confidential, and thus should not have been censored.

Pohl said earlier that he did not previously know there was anyone outside of the court that could censor the proceedings.

"The cutting of the feed revealed for the first time that a still unidentified entity outside the courtroom was listening in to proceedings with a finger on the kill switch," Al Jazeera reports.

The mysterious censor, who has had control over what reporters can and can't hear in the courtroom, is said to come from an Original Classification Authority, a term that could refer to a number of government agencies, Democracy Now! reports.

Kevin Gosztola at FireDogLake adds that the OCA, "likely works in cooperation with the CIA and is tasked with ensuring that even the tiniest amount of information on the CIA’s Rendition, Detainee & Interrogation (RDI) program is not heard by the press."

"The episode shows the OCA may censor unclassified language," he added.

In Pohl's angry rebuke of the episode, he insisted that "this is the last time ... any other third party will be permitted to unilaterally decide that the broadcast should be suspended."

However, Pohl added emphatically that he and the court security officer were the only ones with authority to suspend the broadcast coming out of the courtroom, implying censorship in and of itself is not the problem, but who has the power to censor.

Defense lawyer James Connell said many questions still remain:

The judge ordered that the prosecution must disconnect that censorship authority of the OCA. The extent to which monitoring has taken place and will continue, however, is an open question. An emergency motion was filed today which addresses that issue after it came up this week and the judge has said that will be the first issue to take up on February 11. I hope that we will take a preliminary baby step towards finding out the truth of what is going on in the military commission but events so far may say that that hope is unfounded.

Pohl is also considering halting the entire case over allegations from defense lawyers that the same censors have been using technology to eavesdrop on the lawyers' private conversations with defendants in both the courtroom and in other parts of the detainee compound.

Navy Lt. Commander Walter Ruiz, attorney for one of the defendants, criticized the anonymous government monitoring system for curtailing the tribunal process.

"Who is the invisible hand?" Ruiz asked. "Who is pulling the strings? Who is the master of puppets?"

Aaron Swartz: Suicide or Murder?

Advocates of online openness and freedom lost a committed champion. The Economist said to call him "gifted would be to miss the point. As far as the internet was concerned, he was the gift."

Obama EPA Shut Down Weatherford, Texas Shale Gas Water Contamination Study

The Associated Press has a breaking investigative story out today revealing that the Obama Administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) censored a smoking gun scientific report in March 2012 that it had contracted out to a scientist who conducted field data on 32 water samples in Weatherford, TX.

That report, according to the AP, would have explicitly linked methane migration to hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in Weatherford, a city with 25,000+ citizens located in the heart of the Barnett Shale geologic formation 30 minutes from Dallas.

It was authored by Geoffrey Thyne, a geologist formerly on the faculty of the Colorado School of Mines and University of Wyoming before departing from the latter for a job in the private sector working forInterralogic Inc. in Ft Collins, CO. 

This isn't the first time Thyne's scientific research has been shoved aside, either. Thyne wrote two landmark studies on groundwater contamination in Garfield County, CO, the first showing that it existed, the second confirming that the contamination was directly linked to fracking in the area.

It's the second study that got him in trouble.

"Thyne says he was told to cease his research by higher-ups. He didn’t," The Checks and Balances Project explained. "And when it came to renew his contract, Thyne was cut loose."

From Smoking Gun to Censorship: Range Resources Link

The Obama EPA's Weatherford, TX study was long-in-the-making, with its orgins actually dating back to a case of water contamination in 2010. The victim: Steve Lipsky. 

"At first, the Environmental Protection Agency believed the situation was so serious that it issued a rare emergency order in late 2010 that said at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane," the AP wrote

AP proceeded to explain that Lipsky had "reported his family's drinking water had begun 'bubbling' like champagne" and that his "well...contains so much methane that the...water [is] pouring out of a garden hose [that] can be ignited."

The driller in this case was a corporation notorious for intimidating local communities and governmental officials at all levels of governance: Range Resources. Range, in this case, set up shop for shale gas production in a "wooded area about a mile from Lipsky's home," according to the AP

As DeSmogBlog revealed in November 2011, Range Resources utilizes psychological warfare techniques as part of its overarching public relations strategy.

Due to the grave health concerns associated with the presence of methane and benzene in drinking water, the Obama EPA "ordered Range...to take steps to clean their water wells and provide affected homeowners with safe water," wrote the AP

Range's response? It "threatened not to cooperate" with the Obama EPA's study on fracking's link to water contamination. The non-cooperation lead to the Obama EPA suing Range Resources. 

It was during this phase of the struggle where things got interesting. As the AP explained,

Believing the case was headed for a lengthy legal battle, the Obama EPA asked an independent scientist named Geoffrey Thyne to analyze water samples taken from 32 water wells. In the report obtained by the AP, Thyne concluded from chemical testing that the gas in the drinking water could have originated from Range Resources' nearby drilling operation.

Despite this smoking gun, everything was soon shut down, with the Obama EPA reversing its emergency order, terminating the court battle and censoring Thyne's report. The AP explained that the Obama EPA has "refused to answer questions about the decision."

"I just can't believe that an agency that knows the truth about something like that, or has evidence like this, wouldn't use it," Lipsky, who now pays $1,000 a month to have water hauled to his family's house, told the AP.

"Duke Study" Co-Author Confirms Veracity of Thyne's Study 

Robert Jackson, a Professor of Global Environmental Change at Duke University and co-author of the "Duke Study" linking fracking to groundwater contamination did an independent peer review of Thyne's censored findings. He found that it is probable that the methane in Lipsky's well water likely ended up there thanks to the fracking process. 

Range predictably dismissed Thyne and Jackson as "anti-industry."

Americans Against Fracking: An "Unconscionable" Decision

Americans Against Fracking summed up the situation best in a scathing press release:

It is unconscionable that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is tasked with safeguarding our nation’s vital natural resources, would fold under pressure to the oil and gas industry...It is again abundantly clear that the deep pocketed oil and gas industry will stop at nothing to protect its own interests, even when mounting scientific evidence shows that drilling and fracking pose a direct threat to vital drinking water supplies.

There's also a tragic human side to this tale. 

"This has been total hell," Lipsky told the AP. "It's been taking a huge toll on my family and on our life."

We Are All Aaron Swartz! Fighting Back Against the “Intellectual Property” Racket

Aaron Swartz’ passing becomes even more tragic if we do not recognize what he spent his life fighting for, and realize that no matter where we think we stand on the issue of Internet freedom, the interests driving the debate from Wall Street and Washington, do not have any of our best interests in mind.

In your standard dictatorship, activists are brought out back and shot.

In the United States’ crypto-dictatorship, activists are bullied by the state until they go bankrupt, are buried under a mountain of legal woes, are publicly discredited or humiliated, or as in the case of activist and Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz, made to crack under the constant pressure, and commit suicide.

While superficially the United States may seem more progressive, a dead activist bullied to death for his political views, is a dead activist – whether it was a bullet in the back of the head by SS officers, or a mountain of litigation dumped upon someone by the US Department of Justice.

We are All Aaron Swartz.

Aaron Swartz protesting SOPA (image right)

Swartz was an active opponent of the media industry’s various assaults on Internet freedom and sharing, including the scandalous SOPA/PIPA and ACTA bills. He was the director of Demand Progress, which pursued the following campaigns:

The big business lobbyists who are behind the Internet Blacklist Bill are already making the sequel. The “Ten Strikes” bill would make it a felony to stream copyrighted content — like music in the background of a Youtube video, movies and TV shows — more than ten times.

Click here to read the text of the bill and voice your opposition.

2. Oppose Protect-IP We knew that members of Congress and their business allies were gearing up to pass a revised Internet Blacklist Bill — which more than 325,000 Demand Progress members helped block last winter — but we never expected it to be this atrocious. Last year’s bill has been renamed the “PROTECT IP” Act and it is far worse than its predecessor.

The new PROTECT-IP Act retains the censorship components from COICA, but adds a new one: It bans people from having serious conversations about the blacklisted sites. Under the new bill, anyone “referring or linking” to a blacklisted site is prohibited from doing so and can be served with a blacklist order forcing them to stop.

3. Bin Laden Is Dead. Will The Patriot Act Live On?The Patriot Act was enacted as a supposedly temporary measure in the wake of 9-11. With Bin Laden’s passing, the era of the Patriot Act, of spying on Americans who aren’t suspected of crimes, of heavy-handed abuse of our dearly held civil liberties, must come to an end.We need to act now to make sure we win this fight. Tens of thousands of Demand Progress members have already urged Congress to fix the Patriot Act. Will you ask Congress and the President to return us to the legal norms that existed before 9-11 and start respecting our civil liberties?
4. Tell Facebook: Stop Censoring Political SpeechA range of Facebook users, from political dissidents to technology bloggers, are reporting the sudden blocking of their pages. Facebook provided no prior warning, nor was there a clear process established to restore access to the blocked pages.

Will you fight back?

5. Tell The DOJ: Investigate Goldman Sachs

Investigators discovered that Goldman traders bragged about selling “shitty” deals to clients and the mega-bank bet against the same financial products it was selling to investors. And they’ve lied about it all the way to the bank.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and small-time homeowners are in jail for mortgage fraud, but no CEOs have been prosecuted for their roles in the financial crisis. It’s time to change that.

6. Tell Your Lawmakers: Shut Down The New Debtors’ Prisons

Americans are in more debt than ever before, and the banks are going to new extremes to squeeze us for every last penny: If you can’t pay up, they’ll try to get you locked up.

7. Could the Government Really Shut Down Facebook?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are out of control. They’ve been seizing domain names without due process: they shut down 84,000 sites by accident last month, arrested a man for linking to other websites, and government officials think ICE and DHS are claiming powers that would even threaten sites like Facebook.

8. Fight Internet ‘Kill Switch’

Are our leaders better than Egypt’s? Across the globe, governments know that the Internet is increasingly the lifeblood of democracy — that’s why Egypt’s oppressive regime just shut down the Internet there.

But even as American politicians condemn Egypt for doing so, they’re pushing legislation to give our government the power to do the exact same thing here at home! The so-called ‘Kill Switch’ would let the president turn off our Internet — without a court even having to approve the decision.

Join over 40,000 in fighting it. Add your name!

9. Let the PATRIOT Act Expire

The most noxious parts of the USA PATRIOT Act are about to expire — but Congress wants to extend them again. These provisions let the government spy on people without naming them in a warrant, and secretly access your library and bank records under a gag order prohibiting anyone from letting you know.

Join over 60,000 in opposing extension. Add your name!

10. No Mandatory Internet IDs!

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke just announced that he’s developing virtual ID cards for Internet users — and they could pose a severe threat to our privacy! The program’s called the “National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace” and the draft proposal indicates that we’d be forced to use the IDs for any online transactions with the government, and for online interactions with businesses that use them.

Over 30,000 have told Gary Locke to back off. Add your name!

11. Protect Whistleblowers at Big Banks

Crimes committed by the big banks helped crash our economy — and WikiLeaks is saying that a whistle-blower has sent them enough evidence to take down Bank of America. So now the big banks are fighting back by trying to get the government to muzzle future whistle-blowers.

Tell the SEC not to listen to them. Add your name!

12. Don’t Let them Outlaw WikiLeaks!

Politicians are leading the charge to outlaw WikiLeaks and undermine freedom of the press. First Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) successfully pressured Amazon.com to stop hosting the WikiLeaks website and now, as Julian Assange has been arrested in the UK, he’s introduced a new bill changing the law to make WikiLeaks illegal.

More than 30,000 have signed our petition to stop him. Add your name!

13. Stop the TSA’s Nude Scanners!

Across the country, TSA is replacing airport metal detectors with scanners that take nude photos of you — violating your rights, zapping you with X-rays that could cause cancer, and slowing down the lines. And if you opt-out, they feel up your “sensitive regions.”

Lawmakers in New Jersey and Idaho are trying to stop them. Let’s get a similar bill introduced in every state! Contact your lawmaker!

14. Stop the Internet Blacklist!

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are out of control. They’ve been seizing domain names without due process: they shut down 84,000 sites by accident last month, arrested a man for linking to other websites, and government officials think ICE and DHS are claiming powers that would even threaten sites like Facebook.

Over 300,000 signers! Add your name!

PLUS: Download our new flyer for our Stop The Internet Blacklist campaign and start a grassroots movement in your area!

Clearly, Demand Progress is not just another faux-NGO working in tandem with special interests under the guise of “human rights,” “freedom,” and “democracy” to peddle further exploitation and expansion of the powers that be – but rather identified these special interests by name, and exposed both their agenda and the means by which they attempt to achieve it. Swartz’ death is a tragic one, and compounded by the dismissive, almost celebratory atmosphere across the corporate-media of the passing of a man they labeled a suspected criminal.

Swartz was targeted by the US Department of Justice, MIT, and their corporate-financier sponsors because he was a prominent and particularly effective voice against real creeping oppression. He was a pragmatic, technical individual and proposed solutions that short-circuited the typical and ineffectual political infighting that drives most disingenuous or misguided causes.We all stand the potential of being targeted like Swartz if we allow these monopolies to continue dictating the destiny of human progress. We are all Aaron Swartz – and must realize his targeting and subsequent suicide is the manifestation of the real danger these insidious monopolies pose to us.

Sharing is Not a Crime.

Technologically empowered openness and generosity across the corporate-financier dominated Western World is no more a real offense than was being Jewish inside Nazi Germany. But like Nazi Germany, anything can be “outlawed” if it suits political and economic special interest. Are we truly “criminals” for not respecting laws born of special interests, detached from the will and best interests of the people? No, we most certainly aren’t.

Swartz allegedly downloaded scholarly files from an open and unsecured academic archive (and here). The original files are still very much intact and at the disposal of the organization that maintains the archives. Nothing was stolen, yet Swartz was accused of “theft,” facing 30 years in prison and a 1 million dollar fine – this in a nation where rapists and murders can spend less time in prison, and elected representatives involved in willfully selling wars based on patently false pretenses walk free without even the faintest prospect of facing justice.

Swartz’ crusade against the corporate-financier interests attempting to monopolize and control communication and technology is surely why he was targeted by the federal government, academia, and their corporate-financier sponsors. It is no different than an activist being brought out back of a kangaroo court in a third-world dictatorship, and shot. The silence from so-called “human rights” advocates over the treatment, and now death of Aaron Swartz is deafening – exposing them yet again as another cog in the machine.

It is time to fight back – and time to fight back without the help of these disingenuous NGOs and their purposefully futile tactics of solely protesting and petitioning. Pragmatic, technical solutions must also be explored and deployed at the grassroots to shatter these corporate-financier monopolies at the very source of their power – that is – our daily patronage and dependence on their goods and services.

The Plan.

An alternative to the networks, media, services, and even hardware must be devised and deployed across our local communities. Laws born of special interests and flying in the face of the people’s best interests must be exposed, condemned, and entirely ignored. Taking away a human being’s freedom because they copied and shared a file is unconscionable – as unconscionable as imprisoning a human being because of their political, religious, or racial background. We would ignore laws imposed upon our society singling out blacks or Jews, but not laws criminalizing sharing solely for the benefit of corporate special interests?

In December 2012′s “Decentralizing Telecom,” a plan for establishing a second Internet, locally built and maintained, and connected with neighboring networks to run parallel to the existing Internet – but be free of large telecom monopolies – was proposed.

Also published in December of 2012, was “Sharing is Not a Crime: A Battle Plan to Fight Back,” which illustrated the importance of shifting entirely away from proprietary business models and instead, both using and producing open source hardware, software, news, and entertainment.

Establishing local, and eventually national and even international parallel networks is possible, but will take time. Turning toward open source software can begin today, with a visit to OSalt.com and exploring alternatives that are already being used by millions today.

A bridge between where we are now and a truly free Internet made by the people, for the people, and entirely maintained in a decentralized, local manner, is what are called “Pirate Boxes.” David Darts, an artist, designer, and coder, describes a Pirate Box as:

PirateBox is a self-contained mobile communication and file sharing device. Simply turn it on to transform any space into a free and open communications and file sharing network.

Share (and chat!) Freely Inspired by pirate radio and the free culture movements, PirateBox utilizes Free, Libre and Open Source software (FLOSS) to create mobile wireless communications and file sharing networks where users can anonymously chat and share images, video, audio, documents, and other digital content.

Private and Secure PirateBox is designed to be private and secure. No logins are required and no user data is logged. Users remain completely anonymous – the system is purposely not connected to the Internet in order to subvert tracking and preserve user privacy.

Easy to Use Using the PirateBox is easy. Simply turn it on and transform any space into a free communication and file sharing network. Users within range of the device can join the PirateBox open wireless network from any wifi-enabled device and begin chatting and sharing files immediately.

Under David’s FAQ’s regarding Pirate Boxes, a particularly useful question is answered:

Can I make my own PirateBox?

Absolutely! The PirateBox is registered under the GNU GPLv3. You can run it on an existing device or can be built as a stand-alone device for as little as US$35. For detailed instructions, visit the PirateBox DIY page.

For the media-industry to stop the spread of local hardware solutions like Pirate Boxes, they would have to literally be in every single community, inside every single person’s house, to prevent people from taking legally purchased or freely available media, and sharing it – akin to publishers policing the entire population to prevent readers from lending their friends and family their copy of a particular book.

The basic principles and experience one gets from building and using a Pirate Box can allow them to tackle larger mesh networks and eventually, decentralize telecom. By encouraging local meetings where PirateBoxes are used, the foundation for new local organizations and institutions can be laid.

New Paradigms Require New Institutions – Join or Start a Hackerspace

Not everyone possesses the knowledge and skills necessary to create local networks or develop alternatives to the goods and services we currently depend on corporate-financier monopolies for. Even those that do, cannot, by themselves, effectively research, develop, and deploy such alternatives. By pooling our resources together in common spaces called “hackerspaces,” we can. Hackerspaces are not just for technically talented individuals, but a place where anyone with the inclination to learn can come and participate.

Hackerspaces can be organized under a wide range of templates – including clubs where dues are paid, spaces that earn income through providing courses or services to the community, and many others. It will be in hackerspaces, and local institutions like them, that a truly people-driven paradigm shift takes place – one of pragmatism and progress, not endlessly broken political promises from elected officials.

People can visit Hackerspaces.org to see the closest organization near them where they can join in. Conversely, for those who either don’t have a hackerspace nearby to join, or simply want to start their own, see, “How to Start a Hackerspace,” for more information on where to begin.

Finally…

Aaron Swartz’ passing becomes even more tragic if we do not recognize what he spent his life fighting for, and realize that no matter where we think we stand on the issue of Internet freedom, the interests driving the debate from Wall Street and Washington, do not have any of our best interests in mind.

We are all Aaron Swartz – to reclaim the battle cry abused so flagrantly by the West’s faux-democratic “awakening” in the Arab World and beyond. And we must all become active opponents of this agenda to usurp our ability to determine our own destiny. Aaron Swartz was an exceptional proponent of Internet freedom and openness – but by all of us joining the ranks of this cause, we exponentially complicate the system’s ability to target and destroy any one of us. If your cause is just, and your means constructive and pragmatic, there isn’t just “safety” in numbers, there is invincibility.

Guest Post: Where Does The Hatred Of Constitutionalism Come From?

Submitted by Brandon Smith of Alt-Market blog

Where Does The Hatred Of Constitutionalism Come From?

The Constitution of the United States is an undeniably powerful document.  So powerful in fact, that it took establishment elitists with aspirations of globalized governance over a century to diminish the American people’s connection to it.  It’s been a long time coming, but in the new millennium, there is now indeed a subsection of the masses that not only have no relationship to our founding roots, they actually despise those of us who do!

There are a number of reasons for this dangerous development in our culture:  A public school system that rarely if ever teaches children about the revolution, the founders, constitutional liberty, or the virtues of individualism in general.  A mainstream media apparatus that has regurgitated endless anti-constitutional shlock for decades, attacking any person or group that presents a freedom oriented view.  And a governmental structure that has become so corrupt, so openly criminal, that they ignore all aspects of constitutional law without regard, rarely feeling the need to explain themselves.  As a people, we are surrounded daily by the low droning wash-talk of denigration and disdain for our principled foundations.  The wretched ghosts of collectivism and tyranny mumble in our ears from birth to death.  It’s truly a miracle that every man and woman in this nation has not succumbed to the mind numbing hypnotism…

However, our propaganda soaked environment is not the ONLY cause of our self destructive society; many people are themselves to blame.  Severe character flaws and psychological imbalances have left some open to suggestion, manipulation, and fraud.  Their hatred, though fueled in part by the socialization of the establishment, is still theirs to own.

The brutal ignorance on display in mainstream circles against the liberty-minded needs to be addressed.  In my view, the American public is being conditioned to see us as a convenient “enemy” which they can use to project all their internal grief and woe.  Our country is on the verge of collapse, economically, politically, and philosophically.  Corporatized elements of our government and the financial high priests of the international banking sector are behind this calamity, and of course, they don’t plan to take responsibility.  Who better to demonize as the catalyst for all the pain that is coming than the only people who have the awareness and the means to stand against the catastrophe?    

There is no doubt in my mind that a great conflict is near, between those of us who value liberty and constitutional protections, and those who would destroy them.  This battle is unlikely to be solved with words.  The anti-constitutionalist rhetoric is becoming so ruthless, so malicious, that it can only lead to a hardening of our own hearts, and an equally forceful response.

Most of us have seen all the mainstream magazines with front page headlines calling for the retirement of the Constitution.  Most of us know about the suggestions by media entities and political opportunists (including Joe Biden) for Barack Obama to bypass congress and the Constitution, implementing possible gun restriction, registration, and confiscation through “executive order” like a common dictator.  There is an obviously brash and violent effort amongst political players today to mold our government into a godlike entity.  But, this is not what concerns me most.  What concerns me is the subversive boiling poison that is leaking into our culture at the local level, creating freedom hating zombies.  Take, for instance, the anti-constitutionalist crusade by a New Hampshire representative against the New Hampshire Free State Project:

What causes someone to hate freedom-loving people so much that they would destroy their own liberties just to drive us away?  Is this not cutting off their own nose just to spite OUR face?  Or, do they even see the loss of freedom for themselves as a bad thing?

And how about Marine Corporal Joshua Boston, who after sending a letter to Dianne Feinstein stating he would not comply with unconstitutional gun restrictions, is now receiving death threats because of his membership in the NRA:

What is the source of the hatred towards constitutionalists?  Where does it originate?  Here are just some of the personal triggers and methodologies within the mind of the anti-freedom advocate which I believe have sullied them beyond repair…

The Anti-Constitutionalist Suffers From An Inferiority Complex

I have found in my role as a Liberty Movement analyst and through literally tens of thousands of debates that anti-constitution advocates are, for the most part, of limited intelligence.  These are the average useful idiots who know little of history, politics, economics, etc., but feel the desperate need to appear as though they are experts on everything.  This usually results in constant attempts to show off for anyone who will pay attention, usually with sound-bites they heard on the nightly news coupled with remedial attacks against the character of those who dare to step outside the mainstream. 

The problem is that deep down, they know they are not very bright.  And so, they seek to always travel with the herd on every issue, for if they cannot be smart, they can at least be accepted.  Ironically, if constitutionalism was being pushed by the mainstream, they would automatically change their tune. 

It is probable that they have run into a Liberty Movement proponent (most of whom are well versed in history, politics, and economics) at least once in their lives, went in for an attack, and were utterly destroyed.  Their inferiority exposed, they learn to detest anything associated with constitutionalism.         

The Anti-Constitutionalist Does Not Like The Idea Of A Law He Cannot Use To His Advantage

Not all anti-constitutionalists are dense.  A limited few are very intelligent, but morally bankrupt.  The Constitution is not just a legal document; it is also an emotional and spiritual document.  If one does not have a relationship with his own conscience and the concept of natural law, then he will discover little in the founding ideals of America that he agrees with.  Some people (usually corrupt politicians and judges) see the law as a weapon to be used against their ideological opponents, whereas constitutionalists see the law as a shield to protect us from such despots.  The Constitution and the Bill Of Rights are both designed to protect our Absolute Freedoms.  That is, freedoms that are inborn and which no person or government is qualified to give as a gift, or take as if they are a privilege.

Nothing angers those who seek power more than a legal framework which they are not allowed to touch, or shift, or “tweak” to suit their private ambitions.      

Constitutional protections are not meant to be subject to the “buts” and “what ifs” common in the lesser legal world.  They are not open to debate.  Our rights are not subject to the demands of the so-called “majority”.  Our rights are eternal, and unchangeable.  Anti-constitutionalists attempt to work around the absolutes of the document by implementing subversive law backed by flawed logic.  But, a law which destroys previous constitutional rights is not a law which any individual American is required to follow.  Even an amendment that undermines our civil liberties is not legally binding.  The freedoms put forth in the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights are SET IN STONE (and this includes the right to bear arms in common use of the military of our day).  They cannot be undone without destroying the very fabric of the republic.

The Anti-Constitutionalist Hates Those Who Go Against The Tide, Even If The Tide Is Drowning Us All

Some people are predisposed to be followers.  They do not want to take responsibility for their futures or even their own actions.  They do not like questions.  They do not like dilemmas.  They want to be left to wallow in their own private prisons, where they are comfortably enslaved.

I remember participating in an End The Fed rally in Pittsburgh in early 2008 which was, like most activist rallies, meant to expose the uneducated public to ideas they may not have heard before.  I found it interesting that around a quarter of the people who strolled by our picket line automatically sneered, as if by reflex, even though they had probably never heard our position, or even heard of the Fed.  It dawned on me that they were not angered by our political or economic views.  Instead they were angered by the mere fact that we were there.  We were vocal, and defiant, and a disruption to their daily robot-like routine.  They hated us because we were ruining their fantasy of disconnectedness. 

Constitutionalists are predominantly individualists.  We do not cater to collectivist fairy tales.  We do not seek to roll with the tide just for the sake of finding our “place” within the machine.  We do not care about “fitting in” with the mainstream.  This is often confounding and infuriating to those who have labored their whole lives to please “the group”.  They accuse us of being “isolationists” in response.  What they do not comprehend is that illusion and delusion have isolated THEM, while the truth has brought constitutionalists together. 

Constitutionalists Are Not Politically Correct

For the past few decades our society has become engrossed with the idea of “proper language and behavior”.  Of course, their idea of “proper” usually involves ignoring the reality of a thing.  For a Constitutionalist, a spade is a spade, and we tend to call it like we see it.  We don’t bother ourselves with superficial niceties that get in the way of legitimate debate or legitimate change.  We are not “pleasant” and tolerant with those who would kill our freedoms.   We do not pull punches.

We are direct, and sometimes, brutal in our analysis. 

In some parts of the Western world (especially the UK) language has become a game, a game of self censorship and deceit.  This game has made its way to the United States in recent years, and Constitutionalists don’t play.  We know that every overtly collectivist society begins with the fear of open expression.  And so, our blunt honesty rattles those invested in the PC culture.  Their ultimate and ideal revenge would be to see us painted as social malcontents; like people who smoke in public, or wear a mullet…

Constitutionalists Are Passionate In Their Beliefs

A large percentage of men and women in this world have never been truly passionate about anything.  They simply eat, breath, and defecate their way through life, scrounging about the squalor of a broken system for whatever brief moments of comfort they can find.  They have never explored their inner workings or suffered the hardship of individuation.  They have never been forced to seek out an inner strength, a personal treasure, which guides them to a greater purpose.  Everything they think they believe in has been conditioned into them.  Their uniqueness is suppressed, and their characters shallow.  They have never loved an idea, or a principle.

Constitutionalists LOVE liberty and the mechanics of freedom.  We love the values of a sovereign republic and the opportunities that such a system provides when collectivists are removed from the picture.  There is no question or doubt in our minds; we would fight and die to protect the pillars of the Constitution. 

When confronted with this kind of passion, the average person is shocked and sometimes appalled.  The idea of unshakable will is frightening to them.  They are so used to compromising in every aspect of their lives that when they run into an uncompromising man, they reel in horror. 

That which they see as “fanaticism” is instead an excitement, a boundless joy, a fervent desire to protect something universal and precious.  What they see as “extreme”, we see as essential.

The Anti-Constitutionalist Thinks He Knows What’s Best For All Of Us

Most people who seek to deny and destroy constitutional liberties tend to lean towards a collectivist philosophy.  They are usually socialist, or a variation (Marxist, Fascist), and can be professed members of either major political party.  They believe that their vision of a perfect cultural system is the “correct” vision.  They see the Constitution as “archaic” or “outdated”.  They see it as nothing more than an obstacle to progress which must be toppled.

The “perfect world” that the collectivist strives for functions on centralization: the removal of options until there are no choices left for the common man except those which the collectivist wants him to have.  This world usually suffers from limited free speech, limited civic participation, zero tolerance for dissent, near zero privacy from government eyes, a completely disarmed populous, unaccountable leadership, and the encouragement of informer networks and betrayal for profit.  The goal is to intimidate the whole of a nation into dependence on the system, until every necessity from food to self defense is parceled out by the state.  

Collectivists understand one thing very clearly; an America without the Constitution is destined to become a centralized country. 

They will, of course, claim this is a gross exaggeration.  They will claim that this time will be different.  That the collectivist experiments of the past, which produced nothing but destruction and genocide of their own populations, are nothing similar to what they are espousing.  They will pretend as if their vision is new, progressive, and far more practical than the vision of the Founding Fathers.   In the end though, all they are promoting is a system as old as history; the feudal kingdom.  The mercantile oligarchy.  The militarized state.

At the height of their vicious sabotage of the republic, they will demonize our very heritage, claiming that it was a sham.  That we were never able to “live up to our beliefs anyway”.  That we are “hypocrites”, and this somehow negates the reverence we give to the Constitution.  Unfortunately for them, we know better.  We understand that the principles of the Constitution are not something we grasp at all times, but rather, something to which we aspire to, and grow into as our nation matures.  They require patience, and wisdom.  They force us to question our own “brilliance”, and our own egos.  They anchor us, preventing us from being swept away in the storms of fear.

There has never been and there will never be a better method of law and governance than that method which defends the individualism and freedom of the people.  The most fantastic of human accomplishments, in technology as well as in philosophy, spring from the nurturing waters of liberty.  Free minds and hearts create.  They refuse to be contained, and the Constitution gives us license to ensure that they will never be contained, even to the point of revolution. 

To deny constitutionalism, is to endorse oppression.  May we forever rebel against the agents of “progress”.  May we forever give them something to hate.

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U.S. Government Using Terrorism Against the American People

policestate

We’ve documented that – by any measure – America is the largest sponsor of terrorism in the world.

But remember, terrorism is defined as:

The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

The American government has also been using violence and threats to intimidate and coerce the American public for political purposes.

For example, the U.S. government is doing the following things to terrorize the American public into docility and compliance:

U.S. constitutional law has taught for hundreds of years that chilling the exercise of our liberties is as dangerous to freedom than directly suppressing them.

Freda Sna U.S. Government Using Terrorism Against the American People

Year of the Snake(s) by Anthony Freda

For example, as we’ve previously noted, reporters censor themselves:

Initially, there is tremendous self-censorship by journalists.

For example, several months after 9/11, famed news anchor Dan Rather told the BBC that American reporters were practicing “a form of self-censorship”:

There was a time in South Africa that people would put flaming tires around peoples’ necks if they dissented. And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it is that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions…. And again, I am humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism.

What we are talking about here – whether one wants to recognise it or not, or call it by its proper name or not – is a form of self-censorship.

Keith Olbermann agreed that there is self-censorship in the American media, and that:

You can rock the boat, but you can never say that the entire ocean is in trouble …. You cannot say: By the way, there’s something wrong with our …. system.

As former Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin wrote in 2006:

Mainstream-media political journalism is in danger of becoming increasingly irrelevant, but not because of the Internet, or even Comedy Central. The threat comes from inside. It comes from journalists being afraid to do what journalists were put on this green earth to do. . . .

There’s the intense pressure to maintain access to insider sources, even as those sources become ridiculously unrevealing and oversensitive. There’s the fear of being labeled partisan if one’s bullshit-calling isn’t meted out in precisely equal increments along the political spectrum.

If mainstream-media political journalists don’t start calling bullshit more often, then we do risk losing our primacy — if not to the comedians then to the bloggers.

I still believe that no one is fundamentally more capable of first-rate bullshit-calling than a well-informed beat reporter – whatever their beat. We just need to get the editors, or the corporate culture, or the self-censorship – or whatever it is – out of the way.

Former Fox News reporters say the same thing.

Any reporters who don’t censor themselves are harassed. Whistleblowers are prosecuted … or even tortured by the government.

The fact that the government is spying on all Americans – and using the information to launch political witch hunts – makes us all watch what we say, and makes us careful about who we talk to. As the ACLU notes:

Peaceful protesters should not be treated as potential terrorists nor spied upon by federal government agents. Not only is this a misuse of public funds that could be used to find real terrorists, it chills free speech activities and inhibits the public debate on important issues.

A federal judge found that the NDAA’s provision allowing indefinite detention of Americans without due process has a “chilling effect” on free speech. And see this and this.

The threat of being labeled a terrorist certainly dissuades and chills our willingness to exercise our rights.

Especially when power has become so concentrated that the same agency which spies on all Americans also decides who should be assassinated.

The bottom line is that the U.S. government is using violence and threats to intimidate and coerce its own people for political purposes … to consolidate power and suppress dissent.

Postscript: fear of terror makes people docile and stupid … and the government has also intentionally whipped up an exaggerated hysteria of terror by “others” in order to scare the people. This is another form of terrorism.

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